WATCH Free Speech Case Argued: American Freedom Defense Initiative vs. Seattle King County


This video shows our attorney, Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center, arguing our free speech case against King County.

“King County’s restriction on our client’s speech is not only wrongheaded, it is clearly unconstitutional.”

This all started back in 2013, when the FBI was running a terrorism awareness campaign featuring bus ads depicting photos of sixteen of the world’s Most Wanted Terrorists.

This was a publicity campaign sponsored by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program. The ad featured the world’s leading global terrorists. As it happened, all but one were Muslim. Islamic supremacists and their leftist lapdogs demanded the want ad come down, claiming it was insulting to Muslims. The FBI caved and pulled the Seattle-area bus ads featuring the “Faces of Global Terrorism” after receiving complaints “that the ads stereotype Muslims.”

My organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), believed that this public awareness message was critical to national security and should run. We are constantly being clubbed with the claim that “moderate Muslims” abhor and reject the acts of terrorism that are constantly committed in the name of their religion, so why would they object to a wanted poster featuring Islamic terrorists who supposedly have twisted and hijacked their peaceful religion? Why would “moderate Muslims” provide cover for jihad terror? Why, indeed.

AFDI submitted a virtual copy of the FBI ad to run on Seattle transit. The cowards at Seattle King Metro refused to run the ad, claiming that it was disparaging to Muslims. Reality is disparaging to Muslims?

We sued Seattle King Metro. Predictably, the liberal fascists in Seattle sided with the supremacists. We appealed to the clowns on the notorious 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And now they, as expected, ruled in favor of sharia and supremacism.

Of all the free speech legal battles I am embroiled in, this one is the most absurd. It illustrates the crippling submission and capitulation of government authorities to Islamic supremacist demands. And now it has gotten even more absurd: King County claimed last year that “AFDI…has directly forced six of the ten largest transit agencies in the United States to end all forms of political, public interest, and religious advertising. AFDI’s Pamela Geller calls this the ‘Geller Ban.’ Dkt. 57 (Declaration of Hackett, Ex. D (Geller Dep. at 44:19 – 45:1-4)). To date, not counting the transit systems chilled by AFDI’s ‘free speech’ campaign, the ‘Geller Ban’ has substantially limited the speech available to over 50 million Americans who live in the affected service areas.”

That’s right: they’re blaming us for the fascist, counter-free speech actions of the transit systems that changed their rules to ban all political ads rather than run our ads. This is like blaming a woman for being raped.

Our legal team at the American Freedom Law Center has responded:

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The so-called “Geller Ban” referred to by the County is nothing more than a concerted effort by government officials to discriminate against Plaintiffs by seeking to close forums for Plaintiffs’ speech because the officials dislike the message. Plaintiffs refuse to surrender their freedoms to these government censors.

American Freedom Law Center:

Important First Amendment Case Argued in Ninth Circuit

Yesterday afternoon, American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise argued before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle, Washington, asking the court to reverse the trial court and require the King County transit authority to run Pamela Geller’s and Robert Spencer’s anti-terrorism ad because the County’s refusal to do so is an unconstitutional viewpoint-based restraint on free speech.
The lawsuit was filed by AFLC in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle on behalf of Geller, Spencer, and their organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
According to the original complaint filed in 2013, in June of that year, King County displayed an advertisement submitted by the federal government that depicted the “Faces of Global Terrorism” in an effort to “stop a terrorist” and “save lives.”  The advertisement offered an “up to $25 million reward” for helping to capture one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists.
The terrorists identified in the ad were also found on the FBI’s most wanted global terrorists list, which is posted on the FBI’s website.  At the time, this list included pictures and “wanted posters” for thirty-two terrorists.  Of the thirty-two listed terrorists, thirty were individuals with Muslim names or were wanted for terrorism related to organizations conducting terrorist acts in the name of Islam.
According to news reports, the federal government terminated its “Faces of Global Terrorism” ad campaign after receiving complaints from politicians and advocacy groups that took offense that the list of wanted global terrorists pictured in the ad appeared to include only Muslim terrorists.
Shortly after the government pulled the ad, Geller and Spencer, on behalf of AFDI, submitted an advertisement to King County that included the same pictures, names, and message as the government’s earlier display.  The King County transit authority refused to run the ad in part because it claimed the ad was not wholly accurate about which government agency ran the rewards program and the amount of the awards.
After the courts agreed with the transit authority, AFDI submitted a second ad, this time making certain the ad was presented in such a way that removed the inaccuracy argument.  The transit authority still refused to run the ad on the grounds that it was disparaging to Muslims.
The trial court agreed once again with the transit authority, and AFLC appealed to the Ninth Circuit.  Oral argument was held yesterday, and it can be viewed on the court’s website by clicking here.


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