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Tennessee Woman Sues State Officials for Revoking Her '69' Vanity Plate

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First Amendment

Rikki Schlott | 7.6.2021 12:40 PM

Ten years ago, Leah Gilliam of Nashville purchased a vanity license plate which reads 69PWNDU. She claims it's quite innocent—merely a mashup of her passions for space travel and gaming: "69" for the 1969 moon landing, plus "pwnd" (meaning to be "completely annihilated or dominated"), with reference to a devastating video game defeat.

It was all fun and games until Gilliam received a threatening letter from Tennessee state officials in May, requiring that she return her plates lest she be rendered unable to renew her vehicle registration. After a decade of driving with them affixed to her car, the state had deemed her novelty plates offensive.

But Gilliam will not give up 69PWNDU without a fight. Last Monday, she sued the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Revenue and the state's attorney general for allegedly violating her First........

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