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“ICUHAJI” Battle Returns to DMV

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2013 | Blog, License Plates

The Iraqi War veteran’s vanity plate “ICUHAJI” has acquired a life of its own in a battle between former Army sniper Sean Bujno and Virginia’s DMV.  At issue is whether the message “I see you, Haji” is derogatory to Arabs and Muslims and in violation of Virginia’s regulations against such messages appearing on vanity plates. Bujno won his first round in court with a judge’s ruling declaring the regulations to be unconstitutional “viewpoint discrimination.” His case was then sent back to DMV to see if it could justify the revocation of the plates on some other ground. DMV decided it could still deny Bujno the plates on other, legal grounds, and Bujno again took the case to court. This time the judge ruled that Bujno had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with DMV before filing suit (a necessary step before invoking a court’s jurisdiction). So Bujno is now headed back to DMV to exhaust his remedies there before (assuming he loses) the court will hear his appeal. FWIW, the Virginia-Pilot has sort-of sided with Bujno, arguing that the Virginia regulations are vague.