Question: Is There Any Justification For A State Censoring Vanity Plates? (And What’s Wrong With “KAIJUU”?)

My answer to the first question? Absolutely not.(  My answer to the second is, “I have no idea.” ) If a driver can put a sign in his rear view mirror or a bumper sticker on her bumper without state sanctions, then a driver should be able to have whatever he or she chooses on a vanity plate.

Utah, for examples, bans vanity plates with profanity, “derogatory language,”  drug references,  sex talk, references to bodily functions, “hate speech,” targeting a particular group, or advocating violence advocates, as well as alcohol references and the number combo “69.” Ethics verdict: None of their business. These are words and numbers, and the state is declaring content and intent impermissible. When I see a car with an obnoxious vanity plate, I’m grateful. This is useful information. Racist or vulgar plates translate into “I am an asshole, and want you to know it!”

Thank you, sir! I appreciate the heads up.

Below are the plates banned by Utah over the past five years. Most of them fly right over my head. If you have to be a cryptographer to figure out why a plate is offensive, then it’s not offensive.

The less our governments interfere with freedom of expression, the safer we are.

Here’s the list (the  pointer marks indicate spaces):

^^^HUKA
^^B00SE
DRKA5TH
1H0G
1REDD0G
1STKICK
25I4131
2HI2CU
2HI2DAY
3MERL0T
52WKHI
95MERL0
ANDC0KE
BIER
BLKICE
BLMAMBA
BNS08
BUDWYZR
CHANGA
CRANK
CRYSTAL
D0BBIEZ
D0JA18
DRK0NUS
DRNKJAK
DRUNKLE
ECSTASZ
EHH0SER
ELCHAP0
ELK0H0L
ET0H
G04ARIP
G04WINE
G0TR0CK
G0TR0KS
GANGEE
GNJ2
H0TBX
HANG0VR
HDGR11
HEXEREI
HGH4U
HIENUF
HILIFE
HILIFE
JIBB002
KAFER71
KAIJUU
KALUH
KEEFER1
L0HLA
LIT
LMNS714
LSDC0DE
LVL0VLF
M0TA1
MEGGIE
MERL0T
MJIT0TM
MSTD0PE
PHATTY
PRPHAZZ
PRTYB0I
R0LLN
R0ZAY
REDRUM
REDWINE
RKHARD
RRUM
RYDINHI
S0URMSH
SH0TB0X
SKITTLZ
SMUNTS
SPEED
SRY0FCR
T0ASTED
T0P0
TEENERS
TIPC
UPNSMK
VDKA
VIN0
VWLUV
WDPTCH2
WHISKEY
WNADRAG
WSKY
XTCY
Y0BHGIH
Y0L0SWG
HAFKAST
J1E3W
MEXI
MXPN0
SQU1NTS
SQUAW
UR0TRSH
0MERTA
ALLKLLR
DM0CIDE
IFGB
KLRDANA
MASSA
MP5K4U
MURDR
MURDRD
NINED
SALT
SH0TU
VBIED
VX
ZKLLR
^MP5K4U
DM0CIDE
^^^^30T
^^^1034
^^^2014
^^^49R^
^^2700^
^^3979K
^^4911^
^^69427
^^ED341
^^FT600
^^PL416
^831^M0
911^GPS
CJ1964^
NX74205
UZ^10^0
XKXXKXK
YUN808^
105
117
123
135
0225
262
0420
427
626
675
750
850
868
1024
1088
1503
1786
1886
1940
1951
1956
1956
1961
2506
2929
3999
4285
4317
4680
6868
9171
24601
69427
71112
72442
87242
88888
3192119
3333333
007L0L
007YA
0225N
0694BJ
0755L
0F100
0FF
0FP
0IF
0IF
0PG
10S
1111EM
11I1II1
140BPM
173RD
1930A
1944T
1947CW
1969F
1H215
1J150
1Q149
2000K
2624U
2824V
2J123
2P777
325ES
32S
335WD
340TA
36K
380JZV
406CI
408CI
409SS
422RF
427CI
427SC
427SS
454BM
455GS
4AM
4US
500SL
504LSU
506TH
508RD
510RL
535WI
556HP
5914MD
606I4
666TK
668K4
675LT
714/918
715DS0
750HP
775LVV
7HD
801P0W
831M0M
84726UT
8582A
8CJ
902I0
91150MA
911CCE
917LEGS
952JTL
95M
9J911
A1930
A1957
A2289
A4612
AB8055
AD0526
ADK014
AGT007
AK8686
ANT010
AWKS
B00JH
B00YA
B1969
B1969
BB8
BB888
BBD014
BE11A
BE22754
BE2275I
BH1185
BM1017
BM118
BR00K
BT99999
C00LA
C97
CG1
CJ776
CK1
D000D
D79VW
DAT
DD143
DD845
DD965
DG156
DK897
DRMARKS
DV101
E28
E28
E91
EE395
ES503
F1946
F51
FM7770
FN2187
FZ8
G121314
GA220
GB2317
GI011
GMX695
GR878
GR888
GR914
GT502
GT911
H00AH
H00PR
H00PT
H20JT
H311Z
H62
HAH777
HC7134
HCC-001
HCC-001
HI808
HLY8238
I947
J10
J4000
JB700
JJZ109
JT113
K00DA
K95150
KC135
KJ0
KMF9287
KTM525
KTM599
KTS007
L00SE
L1972
LA32
LG300
LS722
M00K1
M16
M16
M1948
M60
MIX151
MIX152
MPG454
MX223
MX232
MY454
NC333
NL3
P997S
PAM888
PB0
PKM734
PL8143
PR00916
PS121
PS121
R0027
R00SH
R159R
R2808
R41
R487269
R64VW
RED64
RM1221
RUN100
S5114
SA00D
SF0
SGD104
SIN226
SK9
SKI801
SL0
SL050
SL080
SNP500
SPKWP
SS391
SS555SS
T00GA
T17
TB506
TD1028
TEEM0
TEH007
TM26T
TN9999
TT056
TWI001
USN106
UW058
UZ100
VFA161
VW181
VX1
W000F
WF0
WH0515
WL88888
X002AM
XJ8
XK120
Z28
Z999C
ZL142
ZQ1
ZZ00M
000ZCA
0CT0PUS
0RRRALE
1BD69
3ISCRWD
4PLA
4PLAY
4PLAY
4UBUM
4W00DY
60R9
66RR69
68NAM69
68NI0U1
69B0M
69IDI
69NHER
69R0D
69RBJ
69SWT
69YUP
6T9
87W00DY
AFA69
ALAN6
ALPHAX
ANUSTRT
AQUIKEE
B0JI
BAD69
BB00TY
BEAVERS
BEEJ
BFYMI1
BGSSXY9
BIGDUMP
BJ70
BJ70
BL0WMEH
BL0WNER
BRETS69
BRWNP0W
BUSHID0
CMMN4U
CUMMIN
CWILLY
DAB00TY
DEZNUTS
DEZNUTS
DGL69
DRSSEX
EMMYFEM
FASTA69
FINELY
FLASHME
FR0GGIN
FUN3SUM
FYFF
G00FY69
G0C0CKS
G0KRT
GRLNGRL
H0RSEXC
HARDNEZ
HENTAI
HIPP
HUMMTHS
IN2B8U
IVPLAY
IVPLY
JIPZ
JMSYP00
KMAX69
KPDNG
LB69
LBSVAG
LJR69
LUV2FRT
LUVBJ
LVWILLY
M0J0
M0WZA
MMFZ001
MRB41
MTRB0T
MYF69
N5SX69
NASTI2
P00PAWS
P00PDD0
P00PER2
PAPAS69
PB4UEG0
PLAMATE
PUKI
QSEXTY
QUICKIE
R0GUER
RLEL0
RRR69
SHAG
SKM69
SN00TCH
SNACKIN
SXPNTHR
TAC0LVR
TCB69
TESTI
TGHTB0X
TIDDY
TLKHUNG
TMS69
TRAVZ69
TRICK
TW0LLY
UG00GRL
W00DY93
WERFIN
WILLE
WILLY
WILLYP
WLDWILY
WS5EX
WVN69
WYLEE69
XUTE69
XUTE69
^^4PLAY
^^WS5EX
00SMSIR
68NI0U1
H00TER^
PLAMATE
????
^^^^^TF
^^AASUM
^^CYKA^
^^D0DE1
^^EFJAY
^^P0S^^
^^SHTFX
^AMF^WR
^BADA55
^BAWBAG
^KCKGAS
^RLAZFK
0FKSGVN
0FKSGVN
0MW2FYB
0MW2FYB
0MW2FYB
1BLKEYE
1FNRIDE
370HSSV
3FINGRS
3J0H22A
3J0H22A
3J0H22A
3J0H22A
3J0H22A
3J0H22A
5SHATS
8FNKIDS
ACAB
ADI0SMF
AF
ALFAQUP
ALTAH0E
AMFWRX
ASH5005
ASKIKN
ATPSY
AUFNGR
AVERGA
AYYLMA0
AZZ
B0DAGET
BACMF
BAD0NKY
BADA55
BADBTCH
BADBTCH
BADILAC
BADSS
BAWBAG
BCHITTA
BDASSET
BDAZJEP
BEANER
BFUG
BICHEN
BIGH0S
BLB0X
BMF1
BTCHPLZ
BUBBA
BUSH
BVR
BYTME
CARH0RE
CH0NCH0
CHIGGA
CHING0N
CHUBBER
CLEANAF
CLSYASF
D00KIE
D0DE1
D0DE1
D0NNAZ1
DAMGINA
DAMWASH
DD000HH
DGAF
DGAF
DH0
DIGGLER
DINKY
DMGDTMZ
DNTBADK
DRIZ
DRT0FU
DTFL
EATIT
EATMEE
EFJAY
ELBICH0
F0BAMA
F0KE
FAACU
FAHCANA
FARVA
FATGIRL
FB0B
FBGM4L
FCKCNCR
FISHM0
FK
FKNGRVN
FMLVT
FN2G00D
FN7ZZ
FNFST
FNT0Y
FNTIGER
FRACKME
FREDYC
FTN
FUGIE
FUPIGS
FYPM
G00SEME
G0TBALS
G0TSALV
G0TSALV
GETUS0M
GIVMHEL
GLIFE
GREENAF
GRMPYAF
GRMPYAF
GRMRAPR
GRNHELL
H00K3R
H00KUPS
H00KUPS
H0H0H0
H0RUNNR
H0STAC0
HAILN0
HAILYA
HAUAB
HAULINA
HAYNAZI
HAZE
HELRZRS
HELYA
HEYGFY
HEZZY
HLFASD
HTFU72
IMFL
IMTSU
IN2BASS
JAGE
JAKWAGN
JCKMRMN
JFDI
JUGZ
JWF
KCKGAS
KF7FQU
KHUNGUS
KICKGAS
KILLEM
KIXAZZ
KIXGAS
KUNT
L0LWTH
LATUYA
LILBEAV
LIPRIPR
LMF
LVNH0RS
M0H0
M0ZH0
MAFK
MAFUTA
MASH0LE
MFHUNT
MFI
MFWIC
MMMPIE
MRFKATT
MRFKATT
MUFC
MULVA
MURDA
MYFB
MYSSAGE
N00J
N0FXGVN
N0NCNTS
N0YFB
NEEN0
NFUY
NJAASSN
NMFP
NRDIC
NTAUTRD
NUTSK
NWA
NYSSA
P0P0PLZ
P0RGY
PANCH0D
PECKER1
PEGASSS
PERV
QUECA
QUEENMF
R0FUM
R0MA
R1DD1CK
R8RH8R
REDRM
RIP0DB
RIPPER
RLAZFK
RLNTURD
RTIRD
S0B4
SCHWFTY
SDMF
SHTFX
SHTHPNZ
SHTRFUL
SICKAF^
SIKWTIT
SKRUIU
SL00
SL0WAF
SLAVEI
SMTWTFS
SN0FNWY
SN0SHTZ
SPRTNUP
SS00KA
SSAF
SSH0L
STRIPPN
SUWASUX
SWEENER
TARDS
TATAH0E
TFF
TNA
TNYTRDS
TPUASST
TRAMP
ULAZYA
UMF
UPURKLT
URAD0RK
UTAHRDS
UTAHRDS
WDYZTDI
WEBBKN
WH0RSE1
WHITEY
WSMFP
WSUFN
WTFSS
XKXKXKX
XMASP00
YABISHH
YEWTS
YGBSM
ZWF0

______________________

Pointer: Fark

36 Comments

Filed under Character, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, Rights, U.S. Society

36 responses to “Question: Is There Any Justification For A State Censoring Vanity Plates? (And What’s Wrong With “KAIJUU”?)

  1. Other Bill

    I wish states would get out of the vanity license plate business entirely.

    • Vanity plates are big business, at least in Texas. The fact that this is government proctored speech, however, means standards must be set and then upheld. Money always looks good to a politician, after all. 🙂

      This is where it gets unethical, I believe. We have an entire staff dedicated to reviewing these things, who we (the people) pay so that we don’t get offended. Silly.

    • Second. My state, Virginia, issues the most in the country.

      • When we visit our Virginia family, my dad and I always crack up that everyone in Virginia seems to suffer an identity crisis.

        • Other Bill

          The lotteries are big business as well. They’re still a bad idea.

          I can remember as a kid when they first started appearing (in the ’60s?) thinking, “People pay extra for this? Is something that’s one of the seven deadly sins a good thing to advertise on your car?”

          Frankly, I’d just as soon not have to explain to my grand children what “CKSCKR” OR “MTHRFKR” mean while driving down the road. I think there need to be some limits. If there’s a problem with some reasonable limits constitutionally, drop the whole program.

  2. Ash

    That’s some list. I admire the three Merlot drinkers. I’m of the age when Merlot became big, and then we were all shamed by Sideways. Now I drink Syrah.

  3. Steve

    I am torn on this. The plate is a government ID even though registration for it is paid for by the individual. Since it is required for operating a vehicle and you have to pay for it I want to say you should be able to select the ID number if available. On the other hand the the government shouldn’t be in the business of promoting or offending through the issuance of IDs. Unless it is completely unrestricted it is unethical to censor. I think the only ethical thing to do is just stop vanity plates altogether.

    • Steve

      I do have to admit that everyone thinks I have a vanity plate as mine just happens to contain the model letter/ number of the car it is on, it is kind of cool as I can play it up on occasion.

      I have been slacking and haven’t yet registered my car in the state I retired to.
      What is your take on other specialty plates? Due to my service I have a financial incentive to get a specialty plate but you can’t take the incentive and have a normal plate.

  4. Rich in CT

    I think it is worth noting that the plates remain the property of the state, so that “vanity” plates are a limited courtesy.

    They also are meant to identify the vehicle to law enforcement. Names that distract from that are reasonably prohibited:

    “BOLO for blue sedan, plate number ‘I^FARTED’ “

  5. Is there a free speech argument that when one citizen purchases government endorsement of a particular message, other people no longer a permitted to have that same now governmentally-endorsed message on their vehicles?

    Are vanity plates inherently unethical because they should be nothing the government engages in?

  6. Matthew B

    I’m not able to understand many of them either, but many I am able to figure out are about alcohol. It gives people two angles to contest the restrictions: not only are crossing the line of restrictions of speech, they’re also skirting the line on the establishment clause of the first amendment. The bulk of the anti-drinking folks out there are Mormon, and they’re banning it on theocracy grounds, which a government official simply can’t be tolerated when they do it.

    • If a state can ban consumption of alcohol ethically, it doesn’t matter if the vast majority of people vote to ban it because their religion preaches that consumption of alcohol is bad. This isn’t an imposition of religious practice. The argument here would have to come from the other angle of religious protections: if this unreasonably infringes on the free practice of a religion.

      If someone can reasonably demonstrate that consuming alcohol is a key part of their ability to practice their OWN religion, then such a ban could be found Unconstitutional as it affects the practice of religion. But it’s hard to post hoc an argument…that is to invent a new religion that allows one to skirt a law one doesn’t like.

      If a legislature passes laws that establish an official religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of a religion, then they get in trouble. Banning alcohol consumption neither imposes religious practice nor inhibits it (and in places where it can reasonably be demonstrated to do so, exceptions would have to be carved…like some denominations insist on wine during communion).

  7. Matthew B

    I am able to figure out many are about alcohol.

  8. Does the state hold power over what you choose to change your legal name? Can I be “Shitface Asshole” or will they tell me to use that as my pseudonym?

  9. Still Spartan

    I actually know a bunch of these — but a lot of the number ones are over my head.

    I am cracking up that people would want booze or drug themed vanity plates — they might as well put: PULLMEOVR

    • Other Bill

      Hah! Then they could buy one of those “I support law enforcement because I got shaken down by a phone call from the Sheriff’s union so I could put one of these stickers on my bumper so I would get a warning instead of a ticket if I get pulled over” stickers. I wonder which would prevail?

      • Still Spartan

        Jack needs to install “like” and “love” buttons like FB. I have nothing to add to your comment!

        • I could. I hate them. I ding first time commenters who just express favor or disfavor. I don’t care how many people like an opinion. I care who well reasoned and argued the opinion is.

        • Other Bill

          I’m with you, Sparty. It’s good a lot of the time to just “turn to the joke.” Which is a line from some famous 19th Century American thinker whose name escapes me. But I’ll figure it out.

    • Bingo. Stay away from THAT car…

  10. Mrs. Q

    In honor of Jack my favorite is: DRNKJAK

    As a young girl I went to my 1st rodeo and was so enthralled I told my mom I wanted a vanity plate that said RODEO. My wise mom said “no honey, you don’t want that kind of attention.” Now I want one that says something to the effect of Communism Sucks…but there’s no good 6 letter version I can think of.

    Though slightly different topic: What’s the deal with Freemasons having their own plate?

    More random: Author April Henry penned a cozy mystery about a DMV clerk who grants vanity plate requests.

    https://www.aprilhenrymysteries.com/circles-of-confusion-1st-in-claire-montrose-series.html

    “With the exception of having the power to reject salacious requests for vanity license plates, Claire Montrose leads a monotonous life. Then she inherits the possessions of her great aunt and finds a beautiful painting hidden for decades in an old suitcase.”

    It wasn’t a bad read and definitely had some creative DMV plates.

  11. Seriously – “H00AH” is forbidden? Well then, “SCREWYA!” Go Army!

  12. dragin_dragon

    How about “NXTC”? Or, leave the ‘N’ off?

  13. JimHodgson

    When I was an officer on patrol, I frequently had to suppress a chuckle when radioing some rather humorous vanity plate titles to dispatch during traffic stops. As for the issue of censorship, I personally feel that the state often goes too far in censoring the plate applications. Case in point: a friend had a regular license plate which ended with “AK47. When he tried to get “AK47” on a vanity plate, it was rejected. In another case, the state refused to issue “LOST TAG,'” which I thought was hilarious. Go figure. On the other hand, like Other Bill, I’d just as soon not have to explain the more vulgar ones to my grandkids.
    These plates are big business in Tennessee as well, along with the “affinity plates” for a plethora of colleges, organizations and causes. In retirement I have not kept up with the number, but there are well over fifty and probably closer to one hundred of these plates available by now. For example, if you went to Purdue, or are just a Boilermaker fan, you can get a Tennessee plate declaring your affiliation. I am sure most other states are dealing with these as well. It is a nightmare for the County Clerks in the state who actually issue these plates and try to keep the majority of them on hand for issue. Any time I go in to register a vehicle or renew a registration, I marvel at the array of samples on display.

    • Other Bill

      Arizona has recently tried to get out of the affinity plate business. They’ve tried to go from something like eighty options down to ten or so. Crazy.

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