Indiana justices hear dispute over '0INK' vanity plate

August 27, 2015

A state lawyer argued Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles has the right to reject offensive messages sought on personalized license plates because every license plate has some government speech on it.

Solicitor General Thomas Fisher appeared before the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday in a lawsuit filed by Greenfield police Officer Rodney Vawter over the BMV’s denial of his request for a vanity plate reading “0INK”

After a Marion County judge ruled against the agency, the BMV suspended the state's personalized license plate program.

The ACLU of Indiana is representing Vawter and argues the BMV made an arbitrary decision that violated the officer's free speech rights. ACLU attorney Ken Falk said the agency has approved other questionable plates.

The case is Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles v. Rodney Vawter, et al., 49S00-1407-PL-494. Oral arguments may be viewed here.


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