The world of specialty license plates is a complicated intersection of private douchebaggery and governmental robbery. Why do we even have to pay for a license and registration? The government shouldn’t be jacking people with a hidden tax — a hidden regressive tax that hits poor people harder than the rich — for the “privilege” of complying with the government’s own requirements.
Meanwhile, if the car is an outward, rolling expression of your inner self, then the vanity license plate is the part of yourself that is an ass. The level of narcissism it takes to tell people stuck behind you on the Major Deegan that you “LVB00B$” is astounding.
The government should either get out of the charge-for-plates business, OR they should give everybody the same freedom you get when you sign up for Gmail. If Nigerian princes can find me over email easily enough, then surely the state trooper can run “em1@NYS” when he pulls me over.
Otherwise, we end up with Texas…
Like every state, Texas is in the business of issuing specialty license plates to certain groups — for a fee of course. But not every group gets to play because a license plate is “government speech” that can be viewed as an endorsement of what appears on the plate. So Texas has to pick and choose who gets a plate and who does not. And that makes dumb assholes get all worried about their “free speech” rights to say “IH8YOU” on a license plate that appears above their truck nutz so you can see it after you’ve been Coal Rolled.
Speaking of dumb assholes, the Son of Confederate Veterans (SCV) applied for a specialty Confederate Flag plate in Texas. Texas denied the request, and unlike their ancestors, the group sued instead of rebelling. A federal judge ruled in favor of Texas, calling the restriction a “reasonable, content-based regulation of private speech.” But yesterday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals called the ban an unconstitutional restriction on speech.