Bound by Bad Precedent, Judge Rules Against Free Speech in Boston
My organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) tried to place pro-Israel ads in Boston, countering anti-Israel ads that ran there. Our ad read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
The ad was rejected, and we sued. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Gorton ruled against us in our preliminary injunction against Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA). No surprise here, during our hearing Judge Gorton said that he did not have the authority to rule on matters out of his jurisdiction. Still, Gorton dropped the ball on the question of “reasonableness.”
This is Boston, after all, site of the most recent jihad bombing in America, so Gorton’s ruling is sad and regrettable. We will, of course, appeal.
A couple of weeks ago I headed to Boston to cover a hearing concerning our pro-Israel ads that had been barred from running by the MBTA. Such abusive violations of our freedoms have become catalysts for historical resistance and actions in the defense of freedom. And these dangerous restrictions on speech must be fought.
It was the MBTA that invited the debate on this issue by accepting anti-Israel ads. And then they turned and said that our ad was objectionable. They accepted an ad on the same subject that was so genuinely demeaning and disparaging that it had to be taken down after numerous complaints, only to be restored later, and then they had the audacity to reject our ad. That is viewpoint restriction and unconstitutional (even under the Ridley decision).
The jihad against Israel is savage. Any war against innocent civilians is savage. That this is “controversial” or “demeaning” illustrates just how far down the rabbit hole we have gone.
My lawyers at the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and accompanying brief, requesting that the court order the MBTA to display the pro-Israel advertisement. David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise represented AFDI in our lawsuit against the MBTA.
We knew going in that overcoming the Ridley decision was an enormous hurdle. The Ridley case is the Dred Scott of free speech decisions. During our hearing Judge Gorton specifically stated that, being a district judge, he did not have the authority to rule on or alter the decision in that case.
Judge Gordon ruled against us. But in reading his extensively thought out, well written opinion, it appears that he did so reluctantly. He did not want to hold against us, even going so far as to say that he personally views jihad as violent war, but in his view, Ridley as his binding precedent tied his hands.
Here is the most interesting (and perhaps telling in that Judge Gorton agreed with us, but had to follow Ridley) part of the opinion:
Nevertheless, the Court agrees with the plaintiffs that the most reasonable interpretation of their advertisement is that they oppose acts of Islamic terrorism directed at Israel. Thus, if the question before this Court were whether the MBTA adopted the best interpretation of an ambiguous advertisement, it would side with the plaintiffs. But restrictions on speech in a non-public forum need only be reasonable and need not be the most reasonable. See Ridley, 390 F.3d at 90.
We are appealing. Contribute here. We must fight this all the way.
Expect the enemies of freedom to crow and howl. This is what they do: invoke the freedom of speech to kill freedom of speech. Free speech is for them, and them alone. It speaks to the heart of matter and the reason why we fight. Those who applaud free speech restrictions expose who and what they really are.
These enemies of freedom mean to destroy the founding principles of this nation. You won’t like what comes after the Constitution--not if the jackboots have their way.
Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of AtlasShrugs.com and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter here.