Above the Law: Vanity plate debate - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Above the Law: Vanity plate debate

Burlington, Vermont - January 24, 2011

Tonight we're starting a new segment called Above The Law, where we talk about the hottest legal issues affecting our corner of the world.   Tonight we're going to hit several topics, the first is vanity license plates.

Two weeks ago, Vermont settled a lawsuit brought by Shawn Bryne of West Rutland.  In 2004, he applied for the license plate you see on your screen but he was denied because the plate was referring to a bible verse, John 3:16.

Vermont Law School professor Cheryl Hanna discusses the issue with us on The :30.

The courts said the way Vermont is doing this is unreasonable.

 "The subjective idea that we censor out certain meanings and not others just didn't make sense if what you were concerned about was what the objective viewer thought," said Hanna. 

The state lost at the second circuit and decided to settle the case, agreeing not to appeal to the supreme court. Hanna said this was a good idea because the court was pretty clear that what Vermont was doing was unconstitutional.

For more, watch the video on The :30.



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