MTA Moves to Ban All Political Ads on Buses

NEW YORK (AP) -

All advertisements of a political nature will be banned on New York City buses under a plan to be voted on Wednesday, a lawyer for a public transportation authority told a federal judge Friday after he ordered the agency to display a pro-Israel advocacy group’s political ad.

“The proposed advertisement at issue in this case will not comply with this revised advertising policy,” wrote Peter Sistrom, an MTA lawyer, in a letter to Judge John G. Koeltl.

The judge ruled that an ad with the phrase “Hamas Killing Jews” is protected speech. The MTA had rejected it on the grounds it may incite violence.

David Yerushalmi, a lawyer for the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization led by blogger Pamela Geller that’s behind the ad and lawsuit, said the MTA’s letter was “patently premature and poorly conceived.”

“The notion that the MTA can moot a Constitutional violation by changing its policy after the fact and wishing away the violation is absurd,” he said.