No fee required for “In God We Trust” license plate

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Mark Studler appeals the trial court’s order denying his motion for summary judgment and granting the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ (“BMV”) motion for summary judgment. On appeal, Studler raises a single issue, which we restate as whether charging an administrative fee for the purchase of a special group recognition license plate, such as the “Environment” license plate, but not for the “In God We Trust” license plate violates Art. I, sec. 23, of the I.C.

Conclusion (slip op. at 11-12):  The General Assembly’s classification of license plates as chapter 25 and non-chapter 25 license plates is reasonably related to the inherent characteristics of the license plates. In addition, the requirement of paying the administrative fee is equally applicable to all chapter 25 license plates and does not apply to any non-chapter 25 license plates. Therefore, we hold that I.C. sections 9-18-24.5-4 and 9-29-5-34.5, offering the “In God We Trust” license plate without the requirement of paying the administrative fee, are constitutional.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 11):  It is not enough for Studler to simply find a classification under which the statute is unconstitutional; rather, he must show that no reasonable classifications exist under which the statute would be constitutional.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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