Judge in '0INK' Case: Plate Rules Make No Sense
Indiana court orders state to clarify guidelines
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted May 9, 2014 9:32 AM CDT
This plate was almost rejected, for being "offensive to the average hoosier," according to a Flickr commenter who claims to be the owner. He was trying to involve the ACLU when the BMV relented.   (Flickr/Steve Baker)

(Newser) – Quick, which of these license plates was approved and which rejected in Indiana: HATER or HATERS? You probably couldn't tell, and that, along with a host of other similar seemingly random discrepancies, led a judge to yesterday declare the state's system for approving personalized plates unconstitutional, the Indy Star reports. Police officer Rodney Vawter sued the Indiana BMV when it refused to renew his previously approved "0INK" plate—a winking reference to his profession. The ACLU took the case, and made it a class action suit.

The ACLU brought up a slew of seemingly contradictory decisions. For example: "FOXYGMA," "GOBAMA," "FOX NEWS" and "BLKJEW" were all approved, while "SEXYGMA," "NOBAMA," "FOX LIES" and "JEWJEW" were all denied. "The First Amendment prevents arbitrary decision making when it comes to expression," an ACLU official said. The court agreed, saying that the BMV "was unable to explain the seeming inconsistencies." It ordered it to reinstate the personalized plate system—which it suspended when Vawter filed his suit—and to establish clear rules for future reviews. In the meantime, "0INK" is good to go.

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Comments
Showing 3 of 28 comments
TwoSheds
May 10, 2014 2:48 AM CDT
HATERS rejected because it is too long
LibertyTree
May 9, 2014 8:45 PM CDT
Personally I think all cops should have to mark their car like that so we can avoid them.
iq145
May 9, 2014 7:42 PM CDT
i knew someone who got declined for "KISS IT".