FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A Fort Worth man says he doesn’t understand why his anti-President Trump personalized license plates were revoked by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles after he already received approval for them.
“It’s more of a protest against the current president,” said Jerry Balkenbush. “I wanted to make sure that everybody knew where I stood.”
Balkenbush had already put the plates on his car that say “JAIL 45,” when he received notice someone complained. Then, two weeks after the plates were shipped the DMV revoked them.
He said that’s a violation of his first amendment rights.
The DMV told Balkenbush the plates violate a Texas transportation code because they may be viewed as derogatory.
Now he has 30 days to replace them.
“I didn’t like it. I felt like it was a violation of my personal speech against the government,” said Balkenbush.
Dallas trial attorney Austin Pennington agreed.
“It’s absolutely a violation of his first amendment rights to free speech and what we have here is private speech in a government space. The license plate being the government space. The government is allowed to restrict how and when speech is disseminated, but they can’t discriminate what types of speech are then allowed to be put in government space,” said Pennington.
It turns out revoking license plates in Texas is a rare occurrence. Out of 44,000 personalized plate requests approved last year, only 19 were revoked.
Balkenbush said his new plate will simply read, “OBAMA.”