Anti-Biden Vanity License Plate Rejection Hurt Snowflake’s Feelings, So Now He’s Suing

Image: Matt Rourke (AP)
Image: Matt Rourke (AP)

As those famous rock n’ rollers once crooned, you can’t always get what you want. That’s especially true for personalized license plates. Plates can’t display something vulgar about a social movement group you don’t agree with, creepy or sexual references, drug or criminal references and, often, negative things about the current sitting president. An Ohio driver is suing the state, claiming his free speech is being violated.

Jeffrey Wonser of Licking County, Ohio, is suing the state’s Bureau Of Motor Vehicles over the phrase “F46 LGB.” The Bureau however rejected his application for the plate as explained: implied that some could perceive it to mean F*** the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, while LGB could stand for “Let’s Go Brandon,” a joking term that has come to have a similar meaning among some American conservatives.


This isn’t the first time that Wonser has tried getting this license plate. The Bureau says it denied the application for Wonser’s plate “multiple times in 2022.” Even though it was denied, Wonser and his attorney Brian Bardwell swear the plate has no meaning even though his suit — in all of it’s 18 pages — doesn’t exactly say why he chose the phrase. He shoots down other interpretations of the phrase, like saying its a dig at the LGBTQ community, but still Wonser and Bardwell still won’t exactly say what the phrase means.

“We are deliberately not saying... The message can be whatever people want it to be,” he said. What’s clear, Bardwell said, is that the BMV is arbitrary in how it enforces its policies, established under a similar lawsuit that led to a legal settlement in 2003.

Wonser is now suing the Bureau, claiming the denial is a violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and has caused him “to suffer economic and emotional injuries.” Not sure how not getting a vanity license plate could hurt anyone’s feelings hard enough that they suffer economic losses, but he seems like a very sensitive guy.

Wonser and his lawyer are playing the whataboutism card essentially saying the Bureau picks and chooses what plates it what’s to approve. His suit points to examples of vanity plate phrase approvals like “FDT” and “FU TRMP.” The suit also claims the Bureau rejected the plate of a BMW E46 owner who submitted “EFORTY6,” which the was interpreted as “F*** 46” and subsequently rejected.

The Ohio DMV reserves the right to reject any plates that it feels are in poor taste or are offensive. Wonser can claim his plate is open to interpretation all he wants, but the DMV is smarter than that, according to News5Cleveland:

“KIABOYZ,” “5UCK IT,” I H8 TOL,” AND “FOX SAKE” were among the more than 700 license plate requests rejected in 2023.

“People do things backwards, and substitute 5's for S’s to get through,” Ohio BMV registrar Charlie Norman explained.

Norman oversees the team that he says scours the darkest depths of the internet to keep up with the times and learn what some of these requests mean.

“The committee is pretty good, and they catch a lot,” he said. “It’s really a fraction of a percent [that don’t get approved.] 99.5% of personalized plate requests are approved.”

His claim of First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment violations probably won’t hold much water. Both Amendments refer to laws against speech and states making laws that run counter to the U.S. Constitution, but there are no laws in place that are being violated here. The state, however, does have an interest in what speech is being displayed on the license plates it issues for official purposes. Nevada, for instance, rejects plates that hate on Californians.

Anyway, best of luck with your lawsuit and hurt feelings in the future Wonser

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