Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Supreme Court Denies Cert. In Bus Ad Case; Thomas Dissents

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in American Freedom Defense Initiative v. King County, Washington, (Docket No. 15-584, cert. denied 3/7/2016). However Justice Thomas wrote an 8-page dissent to the denial of cert.  Justice Alito joined the dissent. (Order List at pg. 59).  They urged the Court to use the case to resolve the split among Circuits on whether advertising space on public buses should be categorized for First Amendment purposes as designated public forums or limited public forums.  Transit authorities have greater control over content in limited public forums.  AFDI, the appellant in this case, has been involved in a number of the other cases raising the same issue, and some of its ads in other cases have been attacked as anti-Muslim. (See prior posting.)

Meanwhile Reuters reported yesterday:
Humorous ads for a documentary film that aims to promote understanding and tolerance of Muslims went up in New York subways on Monday after the movie's production company won a legal battle with the city's transit authority....
The advertisements debuted after a federal court in Manhattan ruled in October that being Muslim was a religious, not a political, identity. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a policy prohibiting political speech in ads on public transportation.