A few weeks ago, a Florida resident sued the state because they denied him a vanity license plate that would read “COPSLIE.” Now, a Michigan native has sued his state because they have denied him a vanity license plate that would read “WAR SUX.”
The Michigan resident, Washtenaw County’s David DeVarti, is claiming that his First Amendment rights are being violated by not being able to express his anti-war sentiments on his vehicle. His suit is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and is filed in Grand Rapids federal court, according to CBS Detroit Local.
According to Michigan state law, vanity license plates are not allowed if they are deemed “offensive” by the state. This type of legal gray area inevitably leads to tricky decisions, as the plate “War Sux” might be offensive to some individuals but not to others. Whether or not a license plate is approved essentially depends on the judgement of the individual(s) reviewing the request that day.
Anderson Cooper recently ran a segment regarding this issue, and the results were surprising. The list of approved license plates compared to the list of denied license plates was interesting to note, as there didn’t necessarily seem to be a clear pattern of offensiveness.
Perhaps the Michigan government takes offense to having the word “Sux” displayed on one of their cars. Perhaps they are in favor of war. Either way, the fact that petitioning for a vanity license plate has become such a big deal is somewhat ridiculous.