Court of Appeals Rules Against Profane License Plate

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration did not violate a driver’s right to free speech by recalling his vanity license plate that displayed an offensive Spanish word.

The Daily Record of Baltimore reports ( the court unanimously decided Friday that the words conveyed on a state-issued license plate constitute “private speech on government property” that is subject to reasonable regulation. The court also ruled that the words don’t constitute the protected free speech of the motorist.

Motorist John T. Mitchell, a Washington lawyer, had argued that the MVA “has no power to restrict expression” that is not obscene. The controversial license plate adorned Mitchell’s car for more than two years before a fellow motorist complained about it to the MVA in December 2011.


Information from: The Daily Record of Baltimore,

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