On Monday, March 7, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari in American Freedom Defense Initiative v. King County, a case challenging the advertising policies of Seattle’s mass transit authority.  American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which has challenged other transit agencies’ advertising policies, is an organization known for provocative political advertising that is interpreted by many observers as being anti-Muslim.  In the decision below, denying the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the transit authority had created a nonpublic forum with respect to bus advertising, and that the authority’s regulations—which prohibited political speech and other forms of noncommercial speech—were viewpoint neutral and reasonable in light of the purposes of the forum.  A cert petition was filed with the Supreme Court, but as with a similar case involving AFDI for which a cert petition was filed earlier this term, the Court denied the petition.  Justice Thomas authored a dissent from the denial of certiorari, arguing that the Court should have taken the case to resolve a division among the lower courts over the proper treatment of transit advertising.

American Freedom Defense Initiative v. King County, 577 U.S. ___, No. 15-584 (Mar. 7, 2016).

Photo of Brian J. Connolly Brian J. Connolly

Brian Connolly represents public- and private-sector clients in matters relating to zoning, planning, development entitlements and other complex regulatory issues.  Brian’s practice encompasses a broad range of land use matters including zoning compliance, rezonings and other regulatory amendments, planned-unit developments, development agreements, private covenants and restrictions, land use and zoning litigation, initiatives and referenda associated with land use approvals, and real estate transactions.  Brian additionally specializes in the First Amendment and land use issues associated with outdoor sign and advertising regulation, and fair housing matters in local planning and zoning.