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COA rules on 'In God We Trust' plate suit

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Not charging an administrative fee for Indiana's "In Got We Trust" license plates doesn't violate the state constitution, affirmed the Indiana Court of Appeals today in an unpublished decision.

In Mark Studler v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Ronald L. Stiver, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana BMV, No. 49A02-0804-CV-385, Mark Studler appealed the trial court order denying his motion for summary judgment and granting the Indiana BMV's motion for summary judgment. The suit stems from Studler having to pay $40, including a $15 administrative fee, to get an "Environment" license plate. Studler claimed not charging an administrative fee for the "In God We Trust" license plate, but charging a fee for the purchase of a special group recognition license plate, violated Article I, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution. In his suit, Studler wanted the court to either allow him to get the "Environment" license plate without paying additional fees or require the BMV to charge for the "In God We Trust" plate.

The appellate court unanimously affirmed the offering of the "In God We Trust" license plates without the payment of an administrative fee to be constitutional. The Court of Appeals concluded the legislature's classification of license plates as Chapter 25 and non-chapter 25 license plates, under Indiana Code Section 9-18-25, is reasonably related to the inherent characteristics of the plates, and having to pay an administrative fee is uniformly applicable to all Chapter 25 license plates and not applicable to non-chapter 25 plates, such as the "In God We Trust" plate.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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