LAS VEGAS (CN) – A man claims Nevada DMV refused to issue him a GOPALIN vanity license plate because it’s “political,” though the DMV approved his request for a GO OBAMA vanity plate, and issued plates plumping for other Democrats.
He got his Palin plate in the end, James Linlor says, but he wants to apply for other “political” plates in the future and fears the DMV will deny it again.
Linlor, a self-employed businessman, says he applied for the GOPALIN plate in 2009, and the DMV rejected it “on grounds that it was ‘vulgar or obscene or expressing superiority of political affiliation.'”
He tried again in 2010, Linlor says, asking for a PALIN place, with alternative requests for PALIN12 or PAILIN16, again with no luck.
“The DMV’s five-member Special Plates Committee voted unanimously to deny plaintiff’s requested plates as ‘inappropriate’ because they were ‘political,'” according to his federal complaint.
Linlor appealed to an administrative law judge, who ruled in his favor: “The ALJ determined that the governing statutes did not authorize the DMV to reject license plate requests merely on grounds that they were ‘political.’ He further concluded that the DMV had failed to make a ‘rationally considered decision’ that the requested plate ‘expressed contempt, ridicule or superiority of political affiliation,’ or was otherwise ‘inappropriate.’ The ALJ held that issuance of the requested plate was therefore mandatory under NRS § 482.3667,” according to the complaint.
But that didn’t end it, the frustrated Linlor says.
“Even after this ALJ decision, the DMV again denied plaintiff’s renewed request for a ‘GOPALIN’ license plate. A colleague of plaintiff’s applied for the ‘GOPALIN’ plate, which the DMV steadfastly refused to issue until the day before another hearing was to take place before an ALJ.
“In the course of litigating these requests before the DMV and the ALJ, plaintiff discovered that the DMV in fact had issued numerous comparably ‘political’ license plates, including: GOGREEN, DMOCRAT, AL GORE, KERRY, EDWARDS, DEAN, HILLARY, and RONPAUL, while denying other requests for license plates including REPBLCN and BUSH.
“Plaintiff himself later applied for the license plate, ‘GO OBAMA,’ which the DMV approved, in contradiction to its previously stated policy of restricting ‘political’ content.
“Plaintiff intends to apply for other ‘political’ license plates in Nevada in the future, and believes that the DMV will deny such applications on grounds of ‘political’ content.”
Linlor seeks an injunction “against the enforcement of the relevant provisions of NRS § 482.3667-5 and NAC § 482.320, as interpreted and applied by the Nevada DMV,” and costs.
He is represented by Clyde DeWitt.
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