from the no-bill-of-rights-for-you dept.
Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
Can the government ban the text of the First Amendment itself on municipal transit ads because free speech is too "political" for public display? If this sounds like some ridiculous brain teaser, it should. But unfortunately it's not. It's a core claim in a lawsuit we filed today challenging the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) restrictions on controversial advertising.
[...] Earlier this year, following President Trump's repeated commentary denigrating journalists and Muslims, the ACLU decided to remind everyone about that very first promise in the Bill of Rights: that Congress shall make no law interfering with our freedoms of speech and religion. As part of a broad advertising campaign, the ACLU erected ads in numerous places, featuring the text of the First Amendment. Not only in English, but in Spanish and Arabic, too — to remind people that the Constitution is for everyone.
The ACLU inquired about placing our ads with WMATA, envisioning an inspirational reminder of our founding texts, with a trilingual twist, in the transit system of the nation's capital. But it was not to be: Our ad was rejected because WMATA's advertising policies forbid, among many other things, advertisements "intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions" or "intended to influence public policy."
You don't have to be a First Amendment scholar to know that something about that stinks.
Also at NPR.