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Judge rules bus line wrong to deny atheist ads
Reuters ^ | September 12, 2011 | Suzi Parker

Posted on 08/12/2011 5:05:50 PM PDT by LonelyCon

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that the free speech of a coalition of atheists had been violated when Little Rock's public bus line denied them the right to place $5,000 worth of ads on city buses.

Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled that the Central Arkansas Transit Authority and its advertising agency should not have denied the group the right to place the ads on 18 publicly-funded city buses during Memorial Day weekend.

Washington-based United Coalition of Reason filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Arkansas group in June after the transit authority and its advertising agency rejected

The transit authority and its advertising agency, On The Move Advertising, had required payment of a $36,000 deposit to run the ad. The group then changed that to a $3 million insurance policy in case of bus vandalism by angry Christians.

(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Arkansas
KEYWORDS: advertisement; atheist; bus; religion
Alright, atheists are not to be encouraged, but this was probably the right decision. I mean, really, vandalism by mobs of angry Christians? That would then allow the bus company to ban ads by churches because of fears of vandalism by angry mobs of atheists, which is much more likely.
1 posted on 08/12/2011 5:05:56 PM PDT by LonelyCon
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To: LonelyCon

One more reason to dislike public (taxpayer funded) transportation.


2 posted on 08/12/2011 5:08:43 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin)
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The FReepathon Is 43 Days Old

If We Don't Meet Our Budget This Is Your Booby Prize

Click The Pic To Donate

3 posted on 08/12/2011 5:11:36 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: LonelyCon

Society’s scumbags win another one in their big “In Your Face” campaign against decent Americans.


4 posted on 08/12/2011 5:11:46 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Americans need to wean their government off of its dependence on foreign money.)
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To: LonelyCon

I wonder if the courts would force the buses to run ads that said muhammad doesn’t exist?


5 posted on 08/12/2011 5:13:33 PM PDT by icwhatudo ("laws requiring compulsory abortion could be sustained under the constitution"-Obama official)
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To: icwhatudo
I wonder if the courts would force the buses to run ads that said muhammad doesn’t exist?


That is the next test if the scumbags are awarded "the right" to advertise...

6 posted on 08/12/2011 5:18:43 PM PDT by Nat Turner (I can see NOVEMBER 2012 from my house....)
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To: LonelyCon

Seems to me the bus co would have to be copacetic with pro religious ads as well, now. Like cowardly bullies suddenly faced with Mohammed Ali, the atheists will run with their tails between their legs.


7 posted on 08/12/2011 5:20:14 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: LonelyCon
Alright, atheists are not to be encouraged, but this was probably the right decision.

Wrong, it was the wrong decision. The courts have no right to tell a privately owned company who they can or cannot do business with. Secondly, the constitution does not forbid private citizens from stopping some one's 1st amendment rights, only the government is forbidden to do so.

This ruling is just another screw up from a left wing judge.

8 posted on 08/12/2011 5:20:43 PM PDT by calex59
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To: LonelyCon

(Not meaning to imply a pro-Islam message, except inasmuch as any general theist message would doubtless get some Islamic support.)


9 posted on 08/12/2011 5:22:09 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: calex59

The reasoning, inasmuch as it can be called that, seems to be that since the city gives that bus line a monopoly, the bus line becomes a spokes arm of the city.


10 posted on 08/12/2011 5:23:55 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: calex59
The courts have no right to tell a privately owned company who they can or cannot do business with.

.....when Little Rock's public bus line denied them the right to place $5,000 worth of ads on city buses.

11 posted on 08/12/2011 5:25:01 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Nat Turner
How about a picture of Mohammad. Hee Hee. That would be fun.
12 posted on 08/12/2011 5:26:52 PM PDT by dhs12345
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To: calex59

What evidence do you have that indicates that Central Arkansas Transit Authority is a private company?


13 posted on 08/12/2011 5:27:00 PM PDT by trumandogz
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To: LonelyCon
Atheism is a religion so I would assume they allow Christian ads already.
14 posted on 08/12/2011 5:29:49 PM PDT by tsowellfan
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To: dfwgator
It may be a public bus line but it is NOT a government entity and most certainly is not a member of congress. Read the 1st amendment. Congress shall make no law. Doesn't say a thing about bus companies, private or public, refusing to do business with someone.

This was a bad decision and if a Christian group had wanted to buy space and had been denied, I would bet the same judge would have found for the Bus company.

15 posted on 08/12/2011 5:30:07 PM PDT by calex59
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To: trumandogz

Try reading all comments before running your mouth. I have no evidence it is private, but I have plenty of evidence it is also not a member of congress, therefore cannot be held responsible, or punished, for denying ad space to anyone they choose. The judge was wrong, period.


16 posted on 08/12/2011 5:32:50 PM PDT by calex59
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To: LonelyCon

Whatever. I never thought that God needed to advertise. Same goes for the atheists. I just dont consider salvation to be a marketing issue.


17 posted on 08/12/2011 5:34:49 PM PDT by JohnBrowdie (http://forum.stink-eye.net)
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To: calex59

Sounds like you’re a bit angry right now, but I’ll jump in for a second and say that, whether you like it of not, a public bus company is indeed a government entity. Cities and towns and regional governments — including regional planning districts — are all subsidiaries of the state they are in. (That means they hold only the powers specifically granted by the states).

And the Bill of Rights (including the First Amendment) have almost all been applied to limit the actions of state government over the years by the Supreme Court.

But don’t take my word for it. If you really believe that the First Amendment only applies to members of congress, does that mean that you believe the president has the constitutional authority to direct the military to prohibit you from practicing your religion, since he’s not a member of congress and the Constitution clearly states he is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces?


18 posted on 08/12/2011 5:43:49 PM PDT by LonelyCon
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To: LonelyCon

Sorry, I meant regional transit districts (i.e. busses), not regional planning districts in my previous post.


19 posted on 08/12/2011 5:46:48 PM PDT by LonelyCon
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To: calex59
Even if one were to forget that the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has been incorporated and applies to the states (which the transit authority would fall under), there is the little matter of the Arkansas State Constitution, which itself codifies the right to freedom of speech.

There's a lot of case law on stuff like this, so the written documents aren't the end of the matter. State governments can certainly limit speech on their property, depending on the use of the property. For example, the state cannot deprive you of freedom of speech in the public way, but they can deprive you of freedom of speech on many types of publicly-owned property.

However, they cannot, under most circumstances, restrict speech only for certain people or groups, while allowing speech by others on the same property. That's where they ran afoul of the law in this case. If they didn't want to allow atheists to advertise on their buses, barring a reason that would stand judicial review, they would have to get rid of all advertisements on the buses.

20 posted on 08/12/2011 6:55:20 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: LonelyCon

Normally I have as much concern for atheists as I do rocks, but for the sake of what’s right I think they want to advertise, they’ve got a right to do it.

IMO spending good money to encourage average people to believe in nothing and be as pathetic as you so they’ll hang out with you, is probably the worst investment I’ve ever heard of.

If people want to believe in nothing, then more nothing to them. If people want to drink bleach, I’ll warn them not to drink bleach, after that it’s Darwinism at its finest.


21 posted on 08/12/2011 8:27:15 PM PDT by tarotsailor
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To: LonelyCon

The whole thing is much bigger than the ads. It seems like everyone wants to have some special favoritism in the law for him/herself, quite the opposite of what the Constitution was meant to support.


22 posted on 08/15/2011 1:41:19 PM PDT by Morpheus2009
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