Just ran across a funny case from July 2005. Twenty-one-year-old Ohio residents Scott Christopher Wurgler and his twin brother Matthew Allen Wurgler, decided to change their names to Sacco Vandal and Vanzetti Vandal. No, said the magistrate, because "the name change would be contrary to public policy" (a general legal reason for why name change applications may be denied) -- the new name, he reasoned, was "synonymous with anarchism, wanton destruction and murder." (By the way, five years before, Ohio courts refused to let a man changed his name to "Santa Claus" because this "would mislead children and interfere with society's proprietary interest in the identity of a beloved icon.")
Scott Wurgler objected, for four reasons -- (1) "he wanted a name that he himself selected," (2) the name "would reflect his Italian heritage," (3) "the new name has a pleasant ring to it and he wished to use the name in his rock band and in other business ventures," and (4) "the new name will help him in his future bid for public office" (uh, really?).
The judge reviewing the magistrate's decision disagreed. "Few people are aware of the name 'Sacco' and its connection to the anarchist movement in 20th century America." "Even fewer would associate the name 'Vandal' with the Vandal hoards [sic] of Europe" -- "A check of a White Pages website reveals more than a dozen presumably law-abiding Ohioans with the surname of Vandal." "If the applicant is using the name change to make a statement to society . . . it is a subtle one. Most people won't 'get it' without a short history lesson and a long social commentary." Name change approved.