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ACLU: Rejecting ‘indecent’ vanity plates unconstitutional

November 20, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties plans to challenge a Rhode Island policy that bars vanity license plate applications deemed indecent.

ACLU Rhode Island Executive Director Steven Brown tells the Providence Journal the Division of Motor Vehicles is violating the First Amendment by rejecting license plates based on “what they see as in good taste.”

Brown says the organization is looking for a plaintiff to represent in federal court.

A probe by the paper found that the agency has rejected 50 license plate applications since 2012. Rejected license plates include BONG and PPLSUC.

State law gives the agency the authority to refuse a plate that “might carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

Administrator Walter Craddock has said plates should stay “within the bounds of good taste.”

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Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com

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