A federal judge in Austin has rejected a request by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to require the state to issue a 'Confederate Flag' license plate, ruling that rejecting the proposed plate does not violate the group's free speech rights, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said by refusing to issue a plate featuring the familiar 'X' shape  Confederate battle flag does not restrict the rights of individuals to display the emblem.


  "They can paint their car in the image of the Confederate flag is they want," Sparks wrote.  "They just can't force the state to put it on their license plate."


  The decision upholds a very controversial ruling 18 months ago in which the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission ruled that the flag would not be issued.


  "Some people think this symbol is inexorably tied to a racist past, in which an entire race of human beings was made into slaves," said Carl Cicere, a Constitutional Law expert at the University of North Texas.


  "Also because Judge Sparks said, you're trying to force the state to adopt your message and your symbol, which a lot of people find to be offensive.'


  Eight Southern states issue a 'vanity' license plate featuring the Confederate flag, many of them did it to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.


  Cicere says Sparks is alone in his denial of the plate in Texas.


  "Some of those states the SCV sued and won," he said.  "There is a real question as to whether Judge Sparks is right or the judges in the other states are right."