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Nevada man sues DMV over rejection of ‘GOPALIN’ license plate

Updated Monday, July 18, 2011 | 12:11 p.m.

Sun Coverage

A Nevada man has filed a lawsuit against the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles alleging his rights were violated when he says the state denied his requests for personalized license plates with conservative political themes.

James Linlor, a Douglas County resident, filed the complaint July 15 in U.S. District Court in Nevada. A state official said the plate eventually was issued late last year.

The complaint alleges Linlor requested a personalized license plate of “GOPALIN” in 2009 and 2010, but the DMV denied his applications, stating the request was "vulgar or obscene or expressing superiority of political affiliation."

Linlor says he tried again in June 2010 — this time requesting “PALIN,” “PALIN12” or “PALIN16.” The DMV’s Special Plates Committee, which reviews applications, again denied his requests, deeming them inappropriate because they were “political,” according to the complaint.

According to the Nevada Administrative Code, the DMV rejects personalized license plates with any combination of letters, numbers or spaces that “express contempt, ridicule or superiority of ... political affiliation.” It can also deny plates it deems “inappropriate.”

After a hearing before an administrative law judge, the lawsuit claims the judge reversed the DMV’s denial of Linlor’s requests for plates with “PALIN,” “PALIN12” and “PALIN16.” The judge determined the DMV wasn't authorized to deny requests simply because they were “political,” according to the complaint.

Despite the judge’s decision, the complaint alleges the DMV again denied Linlor’s request for a “GOPALIN” plate. Meanwhile, Linlor discovered the DMV had issued other politics-related license plates, including “GOGREEN,” “DMOCRAT,” “AL GORE,” “KERRY,” “EDWARDS,” “DEAN,” “HILLARY” and “RONPAUL,” while rejecting requests for “REPBLCN” and “BUSH,” the complaint alleges.

When Linlor applied for a “GO OBAMA” plate, the DMV approved it, he alleges.

“The actions of the DMV in selectively granting some ‘political’ license plate requests while denying others are unconstitutional on grounds of content and viewpoint discrimination, and should be enjoined as a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,” according to the complaint.

Bruce Breslow, director of the Nevada DMV, said Monday he’s not sure why Linlor brought a lawsuit this month because the “GOPALIN” plate was issued Dec. 30, 2010.

The DMV, however, is reviewing its policy about personalized license plates and likely will have the director or a deputy director make decisions about whether to approve such requests in the future, he said.

“I would not have denied it,” Breslow said, referring to the “GOPALIN” plate.

The complaint seeks injunctive relief from the DMV as well as the cost of attorneys’ fees.

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  1. Seems like a waste of time for the DMV to screen the plates. Who really cares? If someone is so easily offended by any thought or any word they should just stop reading.

  2. The guy should have his head examined instead of suing.

  3. so much for the 1st amendment. typical DMV.

  4. Just because he is an id-iot and worships Palin doesn't mean he should not get the plate and let all of us know just how stupid he is.

  5. @mred

    The blue and white plates are available, as I just ordered my personalized plates. They cost me more money that the state takes to make them 'specialized' so I fail to see the harm. If they pocket a portion of the money that I pay on top of my registration each year and put it towards their budget, how is that a waste of time/money? I get what I want, they get revenue...it really is win-win.

  6. Chunky says:

    The DMV should have better things to do and if in fact they've issued the other politician tags mentioned then someone needs a reprimand.

    Just another example of the government inching it's way into another corner of our lives.

    Oh well, too many letters for the Chunkmobile to have CHUNKYSAYS!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  7. I agree with Judy's comment as people who advertise their low IQ make it easier for me to know they aren't worth the time of day.

  8. This goes to show that Republicans are against lawsuits unless it promotes there agenda.

  9. Palin has her name as a brand and that could run into copyright or patent issues. Do you want more state taxes taken out for more lawyers costs than this?

  10. Get rid of the vanity plates. Let's get back to basics.

  11. Quoyn520,

    As long as Righthaven can get the contract to defend Palin copyrights the state will make money.

  12. "including "GOGREEN," "DMOCRAT," "AL GORE," "KERRY," "EDWARDS," "DEAN," "HILLARY" and "RONPAUL," "

    Okay, some of these are obvious (yeah who WOULD want RONPAUL as their plate?), but the others like "KERRY", "EDWARDS", "DEAN" "HILLARY" could actually be the person's name. Doesn't prove anything.

    I'm sorry - but again - it's bad enough when I see plates that say "CUBS"!!! And I've seen CA plates with " MANILOW".... But "AL GORE"?????

  13. Looky loo @ the crackpot PLNLVRS....

    They signed up for ACCOUNTS with the SUN, just to post a comment demeaning OTHER posters...
    because they so love their Granny Palin!!!
    Awww, ain't that CUTE!?!
    Where y'all from? Arkinsaw? Alabamer? 'sippi?
    Please DO NOT move to Nevader...
    We have more than our quota of Tea-Bags fermenting out here in the desert heat.

    billybeer...
    "That backwash taste, right from the very first sip!"

    "Bruce Breslow, director of the Nevada DMV, said Monday he's not sure why Linlor brought a lawsuit this month because the "GOPALIN" plate was issued Dec. 30, 2010."

    Maybe he's suin' for Pain & Sufferin' fer the months he wasn't allowed to have the plates originally.

    -P A (L) I N-

  14. So much for the Republican mantra of tort reform.

  15. I hope, hope, HOPE he wins and has asked for millions of dollars. Please Sun, keep us updated on this story.

  16. Its apparent he's fallen on his head to even want that idiots name on his plate,...she's not qualified to be anything more than the Show Pony she is.

  17. GooGooDolls.

    Think about what you said hoping he wins MILLIONS. Guess what, it is YOU that gets to pay those millions.

    He got his license plate in December and would not have attorney fee's if he was not filing a lawsuit so he just needs to move on and be happy.

    Seems all common sense has left the building here once again.

  18. I don't know which one is more ridiculous. The guy requesting the plates or the DMV refusing to give them to him. If James Linlor really believes in God and Sarah Palin he should just pray and the plates will magically appear just like Adam and Eve.

  19. If anyone ever wondered which way politically state workers tilt, here's your answer. Whatever you think of Palin or this driver, the idea that a state agency can forbid political speech (or, in this case, choose some political speech over others) is a clear violation of the First Amendment (and, yes, the Constitution supersedes state regulations).
    The fact that the DMV is ignoring a decision by the court only makes matters worse.
    Anyone who is on the DMV's side in this matter should really stop and reflect on their own attitudes and decide just how statist they truly are.

  20. It seems to me this crew at DMV are among state employees who deserve to be laid off...for stupidity. In fact, it's a perfect example of why government employees should not be allowed to organize into unions which protect the lamest in the herd.

    What part of this phrase do they not understand: "expressing superiority of political affiliation." This man doesn't want a plate that says DEMSUK, which would be an expression of superiority of political affilitation. However "Go Palin", "Palin12" or "Palin16" do not express superiority of anyone.

  21. I'd say, unless it's an obscene, racist or otherwise offensive (not just because it may "offend" political opposites), I'd say the state should take the money and issue the plate. If someone wants an "I (heart symbol) PALIN (or OBAMA) plate, what's the big deal, I may disagree with one of those 2, but it's not "offensive". (The heart symbol is available in California). When Nevada prisoners restored an old Nixon limo for the Imperial Palace, they made a "pardon me" plate for it!
    Of course, I rarely even put political bumper stickers on my car anymore, it invites vandalism.
    Chunky, How about CHNKY SZ?

  22. How about NOPALIN ?

  23. Yet another whining conservative who has to take his pouting to the courts. I really hope they make him pay for wasting everyones resources.

  24. It seems ridiculous that they would allow a plate, for instance, supporting Casey Anthony but not one supporting Sarah Palin.
    It also seems to be the case that the DMV is applying the rule haphazardly. If you can support Ron Paul (a conservative) or Al Gore (a liberal), why not Sarah Palin?

    Supporting someone does not express the SUPERIORITY of a political view. Something like GOPBEST or DEMSRUL might do that. Even so...

    Let people support a candidate. It's not the same as ATTACKING someone. I can see banning plates like HATEGOP or DIEGORE, but let's keep the personalized plates.

  25. Just LOOK @ all the quacks & NutJobs drudge dredges up from the depths of America...

    Yeeee Haaaa!!!
    That Moonshine is powerful medicine!

  26. Examples of a public display of low IQ:

    GOREWON
    OBAMAMAN
    REIDFAN

  27. Can I get my plate to read
    GOAWAYPALIN

    Jonathan

  28. Jonathan: I would not recommend it. Again people, the Palin brand is important to her like a sports star, Palin wants her money for her name. Understand copyright laws and patent laws are playing in this. Though I would buy that plate GOAWAYPALIN in a heartbeat. I would probably be sued for using her name; for good or not.