Brilliant news, freedom lovers. We won in Philadelphia. Your First Amendment rights were in jeopardy, so we fought and we are victorious.
The court granted our motion for a preliminary injunction. The judge held that the forum was a designated public forum, and so the content-based restriction on our speech could not survive strict scrutiny, and that regardless of the nature of the forum, the restriction was viewpoint-based. In short, we won on everything.
Thanks again to our legal warriors, David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center. Contribute to our work here.
Free Speech Victory in Philly!
March 11, 2015, AFLC
(Philadelphia, PA) — Today, a federal judge sitting in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted the American Freedom Law Center’s motion for a preliminary injunction, holding that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) refusal to run a “Stop the Islamic Jew-Hatred” advertisement on its advertising space violated the First Amendment. As part of his ruling, the judge ordered SEPTA to run the ad.
The preliminary injunction motion was filed on behalf of the advertisement’s sponsors, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and its co-founders, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and is part of a civil rights lawsuit filed against SEPTA last year.
In May of 2014, AFDI submitted the below advertisement for display on SEPTA’s advertising space:
SEPTA rejected the ad, claiming that it “tends to disparage or ridicule any person or group of persons on the basis of race, religious belief, age, sex, alienage, national origin, sickness or disability.”
The federal judge, agreeing with all of AFLC’s arguments, ruled that SEPTA’s speech restriction was content- and viewpoint-based in violation of the First Amendment.
This is great victory not only for our clients, but for all freedom-loving Americans who cherish the First Amendment!
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