Monday, June 22, 2015

After Policy Change, Court Dissolves Injunction Forcing Carrying of Anti-Islam Bus Ads

As previously reported, in April a New York federal district court granted a preliminary injunction to a pro-Israel advocacy group requiring the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority to accept the group's anti-Islam ad for display on the back of New York City buses. The controversial ad declared that "killing Jews" draws Muslims closer to Allah. The MTA responded to the court order by changing its policy and barring all ads of a political nature.  Now in American Freedom Defense Initiative v. Metropolitan Transit Authority, (SD NY, June 19, 2015), the federal district court granted the MTA's motion to vacate the preliminary injunction, finding that the new policy has rendered the preliminary injunction moot.  The court said in part:
In this case, the only conduct that the Court previously enjoined as unconstitutional was the defendants’ exclusion of the Killing Jews ad under the “incitement of violence” standard.  The defendants are now only excluding the Killing Jews ad under the New Policy banning political ads, a policy they assert that they have no plans of revising.... Thus, the defendants have ceased the conduct that the Court identified as unconstitutional....
[I]t is likely that the MTA’s exclusion of all political ads has converted its advertising space from a designated public forum to a limited public forum or a nonpublic forum.
Raw Story reports on the decision. [Thanks to Steven H. Sholk for the lead.]