Okay, let's face it: This story represents some of the lowest-hanging conservative blog fodder conceivable to mankind, so I'm virtually legally bound to hit it. Your outrageous outrage of the day pairs the Department of Motor Vehicles, a go-to poster child for government inefficiency, with the irksome micromanagement of faceless bureaucratic apparatchiks -- and finished off with a twist of Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome. Mix these ingredients thoroughly, and what does one get? Blog gold, my friends:
A Nevada man has filed a lawsuit against the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles alleging his rights were violated when he says the state denied his requests for personalized license plates with conservative political themes. James Linlor, a Douglas County resident, filed the complaint July 15 in U.S. District Court in Nevada. A state official said the plate eventually was issued late last year.
The complaint alleges Linlor requested a personalized license plate of “GOPALIN” in 2009 and 2010, but the DMV denied his applications, stating the request was "vulgar or obscene or expressing superiority of political affiliation." Linlor says he tried again in June 2010 — this time requesting “PALIN,” “PALIN12” or “PALIN16.” The DMV’s Special Plates Committee, which reviews applications, again denied his requests, deeming them inappropriate because they were “political,” according to the complaint.
According to the Nevada Administrative Code, the DMV rejects personalized license plates with any combination of letters, numbers or spaces that “express contempt, ridicule or superiority of ... political affiliation.” It can also deny plates it deems “inappropriate.”
This is America, dammit. It is our God-given right to procure non-obscene vanity plate messages of our choosing. Feeling the fury yet? No? What if I were to sprinkle in some indefensible, quite possibly politically-motivated, double standards for good measure?
Despite the judge’s decision, the complaint alleges the DMV again denied Linlor’s request for a “GOPALIN” plate. Meanwhile, Linlor discovered the DMV had issued other politics-related license plates, including “GOGREEN,” “DMOCRAT,” “AL GORE,” “KERRY,” “EDWARDS,” “DEAN,” “HILLARY” and “RONPAUL,” while rejecting requests for “REPBLCN” and “BUSH,” the complaint alleges. When Linlor applied for a “GO OBAMA” plate, the DMV approved it, he alleges.
If this controversy had played out in 2008, James Linlor would inevitably have achieved the mini-celebrity status of Joe the Plumber, or at least Tito the Builder. Alas, it's 2011; plus, the article goes on to say a judge ruled in the Palinista's favor last year, which takes some of the sizzle out of the story. It even appears he's decided to pursue this lawsuit despite the fact that his 'GOPALIN' plates were issued, er, six months ago. Hmm. I'm generally the sort of fellow who laments the hyper-litigiousness of modern American society, and who supports reasonable tort reform to cut down on frivolous lawsuits. This is particularly true in the realm of medical malpractice tort law, where overzealous trial lawyers are bleeding the medical profession dry, and defensive medicine is pushing the cost of health care ever higher. (Obamacare, of course, does next to nothing to alleviate this problem, for reasons explained with bewildering frankness by Howard Dean).
And yet, my inner craving for delicious red meat compels me to root for this guy as he sues the pants off the DMV for its employees' apparent partisan pettiness. Who's with me?