Constitutional Law

NYC transit agency may ban all political ads to avoid complying with federal judge's ruling

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Ordered by a federal judge in Manhattan to allow a pro-Israel satirical “killing Jews” ad on buses and subways, New York City transit officials have come up with a new strategy to block it.

In a Friday letter to U.S. District Judge John Koeltl, a lawyer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said its board plans to vote as early as next week on a proposed plan to ban all political ads, reports the Associated Press.

“The proposed advertisement at issue in this case will not comply with this revised advertising policy,” wrote attorney Peter Sistrom.

Attorney David Yerushalmi represents the American Freedom Defense Initiative, the advocacy group behind the ad.

It sued on First Amendment grounds, and Koeltl found on Tuesday that the MTA’s refusal to allow the ad violated the group’s speech rights, as the New York Times (reg. req.) reported earlier.

“The notion that the MTA can moot a constitutional violation by changing its policy after the fact and wishing away the violation is absurd,” Yerushalmi said.

He also pointed out that his group is seeking damages for alleged violations that already occurred.

Related coverage: “Satirical ‘killing Jews’ ad can’t be banned from New York mass transit, judge rules”

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