Peace lover wins battle for 'WAR SUX' license plate

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson settles lawsuit to allow David DeVarti to request "WAR SUX" license plate.
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Sept. 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- A peace-loving Michigan man won his nonviolent battle for the right to obtain a "WAR SUX" license plate in a lawsuit settlement.

David DeVarti, who sued Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's office in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, agreed to a settlement that will allow him to request a personalized license plate reading "WAR SUX."

Johnson's office agreed not to enforce the "offensive to good taste and decency" restriction after U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist ruled the guidelines were too broad.

"Although the Department of State has adopted internal guidelines to augment the statute by providing some definite standards, the guidelines do no alleviate the potential for viewpoint discrimination," Quist ruled.

"In fact, the guidelines, which preclude combinations that are irreverent toward 'sacred things,' including God, and that negatively portray a given racial, religious, ethnic or socioeconomic group, including persons of a particular gender or sexual orientation, explicitly sanction viewpoint discrimination."

The lawsuit had initially been filed by DeVarti and Michael Matwyuk, whose request for a plate reading "INF1DEL" was also rejected, but the Secretary of State earlier relented in Matwyuk's case, saying the rejection had been an administrative error.

The state retains the right to reject plates deemed to be objectively offensive, but the settlement states the Secretary of State "shall not prohibit the word, 'sucks' and its variations such as 'SUX" and "SUKS" on the grounds that the word is sexual in nature, profane, vulgar or otherwise inappropriate when, in context, the word is being used as the slang term meaning 'is objectionable or inadequate.'"

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Topics: Ruth Johnson
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Man facing charges for petting the cougars at Ohio zoo
Sheriff's lieutenant to unidentified thief: 'Look at me son, I'm talking to you'
Plane nearly overturns in strong wind during Netherlands landing
Starbucks lifts ban on man who confronted drivers in spaces for disabled
Coolest pug of the summer beats the heat, snores in his pool