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Constitutional Law

Va. Judge OKs US Army Veteran’s License Plate, Says State Incorrectly Considered Bumper Sticker, Too

Posted Nov 9, 2012 3:51 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Virginia judge has ruled that the state department of motor vehicles exceeded its authority last year when revoked a former U.S. Army sergeant's vanity license plate, which could be considered to make an offensive racial reference.

However, Circuit Court Judge John W. Brown said the state has to allow a diversity of opinion on racial and religious issues on license plates, if it is going to allow such comments at all, the Virginian-Pilot reports.

The judge also said the state had gone beyond its proper scope of review—which should focus on what is said on the license plate—by taking a bumper sticker that read “God Bless Our Troops, Especially Our Snipers” into account when it revoked the "ICUHAJI" license plate Sean Bujno had had for four years.

An earlier Virginian-Pilot article provides additional details about his case against the state, which contended that Bujno's First Amendment right to free speech and 14th Amendment right to due process were violated.

The state is still reviewing the 14-page ruling, the Associated Press reports. It must now either reissue the plate or articulate another reason for refusing to do so.

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