Free Speech Wins in Battle Over Anti-Jihad Bus Ads


A Michigan Federal Judge yesterday ordered a Detroit-area transportation authority to display an anti-Jihad advertisement on its buses. Judge Denise Page Hood granted an injunction request filed by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) to reverse the bus authority’s refusal to display the ads, which state, “Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you?  Leaving Islam?  Got questions? Get Answers!

The ad was sponsored by the Freedom Defensive Initiative (FDI), which was founded by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

When the ad request was refused last summer, TMLC, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Law Offices of David Yerushalmi, P.C., filed the lawsuit against the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) on behalf of the ad’s sponsors.   The lawsuit asked the Court to issue a preliminary injunction to permit the ad to run pending the final outcome of the litigation.  

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), commented, “TMLC’s Senior Trial Lawyer Rob Muise and David Yerushalmi have successfully represented FDI in several cases.  Judge Hood’s instant decision represents a victory for free speech, but the battle is not over. Other battles loom on the horizon.”

An evidentiary hearing on the injunction request was held in July 2010.  Judge Hood granted the injunction, finding that “[t]here is a strong likelihood that Plaintiffs could succeed in demonstrating that Defendant’s decision not to run the advertisement was not reasonable, but rather arbitrary and capricious.”  The Judge also ruled that the loss of Plaintiffs’ First Amendment freedoms “for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury . . . sufficient to justify injunctive relief, ” and that “[b]ased on Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits, it is in the public’s interest to grant the preliminary injunction.” 

Read Judge Hood’s Decision Here

In the past, SMART had no problem running an anti-religion ad sponsored by an atheist organization that stated, “Don’t Believe in God? You are not alone.”

TMLC Senior Trial Counsel Rob Muise, commented, “In this environment of political correctness, it is encouraging to see decisions such as this one that uphold our basic constitutional freedoms.”


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