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NV Lawsuit Filed Over ‘GOPALIN’ License Plate

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s state motor vehicles director says he’ll review thousands of personalized license plates issued to state residents after a northern Nevada man filed a federal lawsuit alleging he was unconstitutionally blocked from obtaining a custom “GOPALIN” vehicle tag.

DMV chief Bruce Breslow and a state attorney general spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Monday they can’t comment on the lawsuit that James Linlor filed July 15 in U.S. District Court in Reno.

But they noted that Linlor was granted a GOPALIN plate last December.

Linlor’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to messages from AP.

The civil lawsuit was first reported by the Las Vegas Sun.

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.” The Las Vegas Sun reports Linlor also claims the DMV rejected requests for “REPBLCN” and “BUSH,” the complaint alleges.

When Linlor applied for a “GO OBAMA” plate, the DMV approved it, he alleges.

RULES

Personalized license plates with up to seven custom letters or numbers — six for motorcycles or small trailers — are available for a fee of $20 to $36, depending on the vehicle.

Under Nevada law, the DMV may “prohibit the use of inappropriate letters or combinations of letters and numbers.” The Nevada Administrative Code takes the restrictions a step further by stating that “no combination of letters, numbers or spaces is allowed if it … (e)xpresses contempt, ridicule or superiority of … political affiliation,” according to the lawsuit.

All requests for these plates are reviewed by anonymous Special Plates Committees — a practice Breslow plans to change. He said he wants all approval authority to be given to the director instead.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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