The ruling by a federal appeals court upholds the city’s right to ban offensive license plates.

Motorists don’t have a constitutional right to include vulgar expletives on personalized license plates issued by state and local governments, a federal court has ruled.

The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a loss for Honolulu resident Edward Odquina, who in 2021 applied for and received a personalized plate with the message “FCKBLM.”

Honolulu later recalled Odquina’s plate and told him to return it. Odquina refused for over a year and in 2022 filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu. He alleged that the state and local rules regarding content on personalized license plates were illegal and infringed on his constitutional rights.

On Nov. 4, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson denied Odquina’s motion for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order preventing the city from taking back the plate. Odquina appealed. In its opinion, issued on Wednesday, the 9th Circuit affirmed Watson’s order.

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