Challenge to Washington Area’s Transit System’s Advertising Restrictions as First Amendment Violations, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, et al v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, et al. 

On August 9, 2017, The American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates in the District of Columbia and Virginia filed a Complaint in the U.S. District Court of D.C.,  challenging the Washington area transit system’s advertising restrictions as First Amendment violations. On August 9, 2017 Plaintiff, Milo Worlwide LLC also filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction. This lawsuit is in response to the transit system’s rejection of ads from groups across the political spectrum: the ACLU; women’s health care collective Carafem, specializing in family planning and abortion care; Milo Worldwide LLC, the company of conservative commentator and writer Milo Yiannopoulos; and animal rights non-profit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. 

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority rejected a series of ACLU ads displaying the text of the First Amendment in English, Spanish, and Arabic; a Carafem ad for medication abortions using what is described as the “10-Week-After Pill”; and several PETA ads suggesting that people “Go Vegan.” Ads for Yiannopoulos’ new book, “Dangerous,” were first accepted by WMATA, then removed from the transit system after riders complained. (WMATA Rejected Ads).

On September 5, 2017, WMATA filed a Brief in Opposition to Milo Worldwide LLC's  Motion for Preliminary Injunction.  Milo Worldwide's Reply brief to WMATA's Opposition was filed on September 19, 2017. 

Attorney(s)

ACLU of Virginia; Arthur Spitzer and Scott Michelman, ACLU of the District of Columbia; and the Lee Rowland and Brian Hauss, ACLU National

Date filed

August 9, 2017

Court

U.S. District Court, District of Columbia

Status

Active

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