ORLANDO (CN) – Florida unconstitutionally rejected a request for a specialty license plate that states, “Hispanics Settled Florida,” the National Hispanic Corporate Achievers claim in Federal Court. Plaintiffs say Florida’s 2.7 million Hispanic residents can be expected to buy the 30,000 specialty plates required by statute, despite the state’s baseless claim to the contrary.
Named as defendant, somewhat ironically, is Electra Theodorides-Bustle, executive director of the Florida Department Of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles.
Florida law requires that applicants for specialty plates “must perform a scientific sample survey of Florida motor vehicle owners that indicates at least 30,000 motor vehicle owners intend to purchase the proposed specialty license plate at the increased cost in order to be eligible for consideration by the Legislature,” according to the complaint.
Plaintiffs claim the state rejected their survey with the baseless and unsubstantiated claim that “the plate would not yield ‘strong results in the non-Hispanic community.'”
But plaintiffs say Florida has 2.7 million Hispanic residents, so the comment about the non-Hispanic community is somewhat beside the point.
A further irony, not noted in the complaint, is that the word “Hispanic” was not invented until the 1970s, as a way for U.S. officials to identify people of Latin American origin. One school of thought insists that the Nixon administration pushed adoption of the word as a way to polarize the electorate along pseudoracial lines.