Free Speech Lawsuit: American Freedom Defense Initiative v. King County “Brief on the Merits”

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“We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

AFDI is suing Seattle King County for refusing to run our ad —  an FBI wanted poster featuring the world’s most dangerous terrorists. In accordance with sharia law, Seattle denied the ad saying it was offensive to Muslims.

Here is the back story. It all started in July 2012, when the FBI ran a terrorism awareness campaign featuring bus ads depicting photos of 16 wanted terrorists, all of whom were Muslim. This was a publicity campaign sponsored by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program, or RFJ. But then the leftists and Islamic supremacists complained that the ads were “Islamophobic,” and they came down – and unbelievably, Seattle is refused to allow my group, the AFDI, to put them back up.


We have asked that the ads (below) be put up forthwith, as the county’s refusal to run them is an unconstitutional restriction on our freedom of speech.


Moreover, the RFJ program has been successful: Through it, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security has paid more than $125 million to more than 80 people who offered genuine information that led to jihadis being jailed and prevented acts of jihadist terror. This program was instrumental in leading to the arrest of jihadist Ramzi Yousef, who is now in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center jihad bombing. In short, this program has saved lives.

We sued Seattle King County.

Our opening brief and excerpts of record were just filed in the Ninth Circuit.

Citing Supreme Court ruling in the Matal v. Tam, it compels the court to conclude that King County’s (“County”) “demeaning or disparaging” and “harmful or disruptive” restrictions on AFDI’s political speech are unconstitutional. In fact, these speech restrictions are facially invalid.

There is no basis to conclude otherwise. Unlike a trademark, which has a commercial component, the speech at issue here is pure political speech addressing a public issue—global terrorism. Consequently, “the viewpoint discrimination rationale renders unnecessary any extended treatment of other questions raised by the parties.”

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Notice of Docket Activity

The following transaction was entered on 03/14/2018 at 6:21:35 AM PDT and filed on 03/14/2018
Case Name: American Freedom Defense Initi, et al v. King County
Case Number: 17-35897
Document(s): https://ecf.ca9.uscourts.gov/docs1/009029847945?uid=bef9594b03848534

Docket Text:
Submitted (ECF) Opening Brief for review. Submitted by Appellants American Freedom Defense Initiative, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Date of service: 03/14/2018. [10797431] [17-35897] (Muise, Robert)

Notice will be electronically mailed to:

Mr. Robert Joseph Muise, Attorney
Mr. David J. Hackett
David Yerushalmi, Attorney

The following document(s) are associated with this transaction:
Document Description: Main Document
Original Filename: 17-35897 Opening Brief.pdf
Electronic Document Stamp:

Opening Brief Filed: Opening Brief for review. Submitted by Appellants American Freedom Defense Initiative… by Pamela Geller on Scribd

ER Volume I- Opening Brief for review. Submitted by Appellants American Freedom Defense Initiative by Pamela Geller on Scribd

ER Volume II Filed: American Freedom Defense Initi, et al v. King County by Pamela Geller on Scribd

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