Friday, July 31, 2009

ACLU Wins Lawsuit Against Port Authority

Federal Judge Terrence F. McVerry ruled yesterday that the Port Authority of Allegheny County can not refuse to accept an advertisement aimed at informing Pennsylvanians of an ex-felons right to vote. In 2006 the Port Authority rejected an ad from the Pittsburgh League of Young Voters claiming that the agency would not run noncommercial or political ads. Judge McVerry ruled that since the Port Authority is a government agency they must respect the first amendment rights of the League and that refusing to run the ads was "viewpoint discrimination."

ACLU attorney Jon Pushinsky who worked on the case said that the Authority will now have to accept payment for an ad from the League of Young Voters and pay damages to the ACLU and the League. Pushinsky also said that the ACLU will seek to petition the Port Authority for counsel fees, costs and expenses due to the lawsuit. Pushinsky added that if the Port Authority were a private business then they would have had the right to refuse to run the ad.

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