So claims the plaintiff in Morgan v. Martinez (D.N.J. filed Apr. 17, 2014), and gives screenshots that support her claim — 8THEIST was rejected as supposedly “objectionable,” while BAPTIST was allowed. She also quotes an e-mail that had been sent in an earlier incident, to a driver who wanted an ATHE1ST plate:
Thank you for your interest in New Jersey’s personalized plates. Unfortunately your request
must be denied at this time due to the reason(s) stated below.
Requested Plate Number: ATHE1ST
Reason for Denial: Objectionable or Need Further Clarification
After Mr. ATHE1ST complained, the state issued the plate; but Morgan’s claim is that the 8THEIST and ATHE1ST incidents show that the state is unconstitutionally discriminating against pro-atheism plates — and, if the facts as to those plates, and as to the BAPTIST plate, are as reported in the complaint, then Morgan seems right. Whatever power a state might have in choosing what to allow on its license plates, discriminating against pro-atheism messages, as compared to pro-religion messages, would be clearly unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination under the Free Speech Clause (and possibly an Establishment Clause violation as well).