Judge: Vanity plate law likely violates First Amendment

AP

October 4, 2020 | 4:01 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island law allowing the Division of Motor Vehicles to reject vanity license plates that are “offensive to good taste” likely violates the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled.

The judge issued a preliminary injunction Friday in support of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which gives the DMV administrator the authority to deny vanity plates based on whether he or she thinks they “might carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

The lawsuit was filed in March against Walter Craddock, state DMV administrator, by the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island on behalf of Sean Carroll.

Carroll, a Tesla owner, was ordered by the DMV to turn in his plate “FKGAS” or have his registration canceled after the division received a complaint about the plate.

Carroll said the plate was his daughter’s suggestion,

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