“0INK” Plate Case May Head To Ind. Supreme Court
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – The court battle over specialty license plates in Indiana continues, with the state’s lawmakers perhaps entering into the fray.
The Indiana Bureau of Motor of Vehicles wants the Indiana Supreme Court to settle a dispute that started when the agency revoked a police officer’s plate reading “0INK”. A Marion County judge ruled in May that the BMV’s guidelines for the vanity plates were too arbitrary and violated the First Amendment.
Since that ruling, the personalized plate program has been shut down. Motorists with a personalized plate will be able to keep and renew their existing plate, if desired, according to the BMV.
On Monday, the BMV submitted a notice of appeal to the state supreme court to overrule the lower court ruling, arguing that state law allows the agency to refuse to issue plates which are deemed offensive or misleading.
If the Supreme Court does not come down on the BMV’s side, the state legislature may step in to rework the law. BMV Commissioner Donald M. Snemis told The Associated Press that one possible outcome may be reworking the state law to completely do away with personalized plate program in Indiana.
“We think that the agency should be the one to write rules. We think the Legislature should be the one to pass the laws, and that the courts are not well equipped to handle that,” Snemis told Network Indiana.
The initial lawsuit in Marion County was brought earlier this year by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.