A Tesla Model 3 owner in Rhode Island recently won a lawsuit after a judge found no problem with the license plate that some saw as throwing an F-bomb,media CNET reported. Winning the lawsuit is good news for Rhode Island’s Sean Carroll, who sued the state agency with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for trying to revoke his Tesla Model 3 FKGAS license plate.
On Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Mary McElroy wrote the verdict on the grounds of “personal expression” in an early victory for Carroll. The license plate should represent “Fake Gas,” but the DMV thinks it reads like someone threw an F-bomb. Carroll acknowledged this, but McElroy’s preliminary injunction suggests that his argument with the ACLU’s Rhode Island division is valid, the report said. He will be allowed to keep the license plate until a final decision is made and the lawsuit is resolved completely. Carroll’s early victory, however, opened the door to a complete victory on court.
“I am excited about McElroy’s decision on my First Amendment rights and allow me to express my views through my personal license plate,” Carroll said in a statement Sunday, referring to the original ruling. “The only better thing is to continue to see all the smiles, laughter, thumbs and punches in the rear view mirror, because people continue to read and get a sense of humor in my message.”
This victory may not be the end. McElroy not only declared license plates to be part of a personal expression, she also argued that state oversight of individual license plates could be unconstitutional. Basically, the American Civil Liberties Union and Carroll argue that state governments are not allowed to say what is good or bad. However, the state and its attorney general, Peter Neronha, said the personality license plates were used by the government to identify the vehicle’s vehicle logo. Therefore, these license plates are “government rhetoric”.