Greenfield, IN – A cop that apparently has a decent sense of humor had his fun spoiled by The Indiana Supreme Court, who decided that he could not have a vanity license plate that said “OINK,” on his vehicle. Corporal Rodney Vawter of the Greenfield Police Department was told that vanity licence plates are not covered by free speech.
According to Justice Brent E. Dickson, who ruled on the case, the constitution “restricts government regulation of private speech” but it “does not regulate government.”
“The BMV not only holds broad authority in reviewing (personalised licence plates), but exercises it — rejecting thousands of combinations for reasons including ‘misleading,’ ‘poor taste,’ ‘profanity’ and ‘violence,’ ” Dickson wrote.
It would be interesting to find out if Vawter was not allowed to have this licence plate because of the fact that he was a cop, and if someone else would be denied if they applied for the same licence plate. The selection process for vanity licence plates seems very strange, in one case a plate that says “HATERS” was denied, while one that said “HATER” was approved. In another case, a plate that said “JEWJEW” was rejected, while one that said “BLKJEW” was accepted.
The ACLU, an unlikely ally for a police officer, has spoken out against the ruling, saying that it is in fact a violation of his right to freedom of speech.
“We’re obviously disappointed, we thought that unique licence plates that individuals construct for themselves were private speech, not government speech, especially if it were obvious that the speech was not that of the state,” Kenneth Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana said.
John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com.