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New Hampshire man can keep COPSLIE license plate, state court rules

New Hampshire's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state Department of Motor Vehicles violated one man's right to free speech.
By Kate Stanton   |   May 7, 2014 at 6:47 PM   |   Comments

CONCORD, Calif., May 7 (UPI) -- The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld one man's right to have a vanity license plate reading, COPSLIE, citing free speech guaranteed by the state constitution.

David Montenegro, who legally changed his name to "human," said he chose the phrase because it "[condensed] all of the problems that I've seen in New Hampshire government into a single sound bite small enough to fit on a license plate."

The New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles denied his request under agency rules allowing the prohibition of plates deemed "offensive to good taste."

New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union attorney Gilles Bissonnette argued, on behalf of human, that he rules "allowed DMV officials who were sitting behind a desk to use their own value judgments in deciding when speech on certain vanity plates is appropriate and when it wasn’t appropriate.”

The state Supreme Court agreed, nothing that the phrase "offensive to good taste" is too vague for enforcement.

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