Port Authority refuses to run bus ads
Court/Assoc.: US Federal Court, Western District - PA
Attorneys/Firms: Jon Pushinsky; Vic Walczak and Sara Rose (ACLU of PA)
In August 2006, the ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit against the Port Authority of Allegheny County for its refusal to run an educational advertisement on buses that explains the voting rights of ex-offenders. The complaint was filed on behalf of the Pittsburgh League of Young Voters and the ACLU of Pennsylvania, which jointly attempted to purchase space on Port Authority buses for a non-partisan ad that they wish to run prior to the November elections. The Port Authority refused declined requests to consider the ad, and even refused to provide the groups with advertising rates for the buses, pointing to their stated policy of only accepting commercial advertisements.
A review of ads accepted by the Port Authority, however, revealed that they have previously accepted a variety of non-commercial ads. The ad rejected by the Port Authority is part of a public-education initiative launched by a coalition of local groups that seeks to increase civic engagement by formerly incarcerated ex-offenders.
On July 30, 2009, Judge Terrence McVerry issued a ruling ordering the Port Authority to run the ads.