First Amendment

Michigan Can Reject Bus Ads Criticizing Islam, 6th Circuit Says

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A proposed bus advertisement for can be rejected by Michigan’s Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, because the agency rejects all political advertising.

According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, the American Freedom Defense Initiative wanted to place the advertisement in 2010. It was rejected because of a policy regarding political ads and offensive speech.

“Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got Questions? Get Answers!,” the proposed ad read.

The 6th Circuit opinion (PDF) found that the bus advertisements were not public forums, because Michigan had not opened the space for public discourse.

Previously, federal trial courts found that New York and Washington, D.C., transit groups violated the AFDI’s First Amendment rights by not running a different advertisement, the New York Times reported at the time.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” it read.

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