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Most states have decided that many kinds of hate, vulgarity, and other crap that you think is clever for your license plate won’t be tolerated, largely out of good taste, because who wants to see that anyway. Hawaii is no different and recently won a court ruling upholding its right to reject a vanity plate that was a thinly-veiled attack on Black Lives Matter, according to The Orange County Register.
You Can Sleep In A Car But Can You Sleep With It?
It all started in early 2021, when Honolulu resident Edward Odquina applied for a specialty license plate that read “FCKBLM,” the meaning of which is not hard to discern. Noticing this, Honolulu city employees contacted Odquina about the plate where he explained it away as an “acronym for his business’s name.” Initially, that worked and his plate was approved.
Around seven months later, someone decided otherwise, and the City and County of Honolulu’s licensing administrator contacted Odquina to say his plate was in violation and he needed to return it. If he didn’t, they threatened, he wouldn’t be able to register his car. Odquina refused for over a year, until the city and county of Honolulu finally threatened him with legal action. Odquina then filed a suit against both the city of Honolulu and Hawaii’s attorney general, claiming they were violating his first amendment rights.
The city countered, saying that one of their reps was initially aware that the “FCK” portion of the plate was a curse word and flagged it, only for it to be approved anyway. A judge later ruled against Odquina and sided with Honolulu officials. Odquina appealed and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday handed Odquina another loss, according to the OC Register. The court said, “The restriction focused on the content — that is, vulgar language — rather than the viewpoint of the message, and as such was constitutionally valid.”
One might look into any number of bumper stickers if the idea is to communicate to your fellow motorists that you are a big dumb idiot. Lord knows they exist.