Little Rock Judge orders ads run from atheist group

Little Rock Judge orders ads run from atheist group

Postby L.Wood » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:48 pm

.

Run ads from atheist group, judge orders CATA

By The Associated Press

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A federal judge has ordered the Central Arkansas Transit Authority to accept ads on its buses from a group of atheists, agnostics and others who question the existence of God.

U.S District Judge Susan Webber Wright on Thursday told the United Coalition of Reason to post a $15,000 bond before its ads could be used, in case of any damage to the ads.

The coalition wants the authority run on the sides of city buses an ad that says, “Are you good without God? Millions are.”

In a federal lawsuit, the group accused transit officials of trying to come up with excuses to reject the ad and sought a preliminary injunction that would order the authority to accept the ad.
http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011 ... ders-cata/
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Re: Little Rock Judge orders ads run from atheist group

Postby L.Wood » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:08 pm

.

The rest of the story:

Posted by Doug Smith on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Federal District Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled Thursday that Central Arkansas Transit Authority and its advertising agency, On the Move Advertising, had violated the free speech of a group of atheists by refusing to sell them advertising on CATA buses except under restrictions not imposed on other advertisers. The principal restriction was the requirement of a $36,000 bond, supposedly to cover damage that vandals might inflict on CATA buses.

At the end of a full-day hearing, Wright said there was no doubt that CATA and the ad agency had colluded to deny First Amendment rights to the United Coalition of Reason. CATA and the agency had contended that the agency was a private contractor selling space on CATA buses, and therefore there was no state involvement and no violation of the First Amendment. Wright ordered them to sell ads to Coalitiion of Reason under the same terms that are given to other advertisers. EXCEPT, she said that a $15,000 bond could be required, because she thought this was a reasonable amount for the risk involved, and she believed the Coalition could pay it easily. She told the Coalition's lawyer, J. G. "Gerry" Shulze of Little Rock, that if the Coalition believed the $15,000 bond was still a restraint on free speech, he could come back and try to convince her. Shulze said he'd talk with Coalition heqdquarters in Washington.
Arkansas Times/blog
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Re: Little Rock Judge orders ads run from atheist group

Postby Savonarola » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:32 pm

The principal restriction was the requirement of a $36,000 bond, supposedly to cover damage that vandals might inflict on CATA buses.
That's right. The government may not make you to have free speech.

she said that a $15,000 bond could be required,

That's right. The government may not make you pay to have free speech. Except that it can.

because she thought this was a reasonable amount for the risk involved, and she believed the Coalition could pay it easily.
Since when is this standard operating procedure? If CATA ran ads for a church, and those ads were vandalized, would CATA make the church pay the bill? Aren't the buses insured? If CoR was poor, would it then be illegal to make them pay a bond? implying that rights differ based on how much money you have?

She told the Coalition's lawyer, J. G. "Gerry" Shulze of Little Rock, that if the Coalition believed the $15,000 bond was still a restraint on free speech, he could come back and try to convince her.
If she needs help being convinced, then she's an idiot.

On the other hand, we now have an official legal opinion declaring Little Rock Christians as vandals.
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Re: Little Rock Judge orders ads run from atheist group

Postby L.Wood » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:26 pm

If CATA ran ads for a church, and those ads were vandalized, would CATA make the church pay the bill?


Indeed. They should handle any subsequent damages by malcontents just like they do with damages to other public property. If police
and law enforcement cannot find the culprits then
taxpayers pay for it. I find it difficult to believe that Justice Webber Wright allowed even part of this requirement to stand. Hopefully
the group still has funds to appeal even this partial requirement.
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Re: Little Rock Judge orders ads run from atheist group

Postby Betsy » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:45 pm

...and...who would vandalize buses because they have nontheist ads on them? Christians?!?!
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Re: Little Rock Judge orders ads run from atheist group

Postby Doug » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:57 am

Betsy wrote:...and...who would vandalize buses because they have nontheist ads on them? Christians?!?!


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Re: Little Rock Judge orders ads run from atheist group

Postby L.Wood » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:01 pm

.
Nontheist ads go up on CATA buses, group says


LITTLE ROCK — Advertisements questioning the existence of God have gone up on the exterior of 18 Central Arkansas Transit Authority buses, the group sponsoring the campaign said Tuesday.

The ads - which say "Are you good without God? Millions are" - were placed by the Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason after a dispute between it and CATA that ended with a federal court decision.

A private agency that sells advertising for CATA in February cited the risk of vandalism as reason for a requirement that the group pay a large damage deposit. The Coalition of Reason sued in federal court and a judge ruled the advertising agency had violated its free speech rights by declining to apply the same standards to the atheist ad as it applies to religious ones.

The ads are scheduled to run for four weeks.

Ark Democrat-Gazette, Oct 4, 2011
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