ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – “War SUX.” That’s the sentiment of a personalized licence plate at the center of a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

David Devarti of Ann Arbor says he paid for the plate, only to get a letter in the mail from the Michigan Secretary of State saying that he couldn’t use it because it’s offensive.

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Devarti disagrees.

“I feel like this is a statement of who I am,” he said, “and, at the same time, I think that it’s a positive message that we should be conveying of, hey, war is a bad idea, and we should do everything we can to avoid it.”

“Maybe sometimes it’s unavoidable, but I think that we should strive through diplomatic channels for peace every opportunity we have,” Devarti said.

Davarti, whose father fought in World War II, said he doesn’t understand how anyone could be bothered by the plate.

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“I think that’s ridiculous,” Devarti told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil. “In this day and age … I just don’t see it.”

In a court filing, state officials say the vanity plates are meant as a fundraiser — not as a forum for free speech.

In the state’s motion to dismiss, officials list thousands of letter and letter-number combinations that are banned from plates, including “BADDAZZ,” “CRACKER,” and “ILUV69.”

[To see the complete list, click here, and scroll to the end of the document: Exhibit 4]

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