Stupid, offensive: Is N-word vanity plate next?
That is their right. But it must also be their burden to take responsibility for what they say. Most times, nothing comes of it. But if they are in a position of some public standing, even if largely ceremonial, they need to be held accountable for their actions.
We suspect Copeland is regretting his words. But he is also 82 years old, has served his nation in the U.S. Navy, and was a lawyer with Ford Motor Company before retiring. (Come to think of it, Ford founder Henry Ford also said some incredibly stupid and insensitive things in his day.)
Which still leaves the question of what the Department of Motor Vehicles is to do when someone applies for the "N-word'' as a vanity license plate. The DMV had rejected a "COPSLIE'' plate on the grounds that "a reasonable person would find COPSLIE offensive to good taste."
But our court, now in the license plate business, found the DMV standard arbitrary and unconstitutionally vague because it is "so loosely constrained" that it "authorizes or even encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement."