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Judge: SEPTA buses can be plastered with Hitler's mug
by Jeremy Roebuck and Michael Matza
SEPTA's efforts to block city bus ads proclaiming "Jew Hatred: It's in the Quran" violate free-speech protections and should be halted, a federal judge has found.
In a case that grappled with basic First Amendment issues over disparaging advertising, District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg ruled Wednesday that SEPTA had inconsistently run public-issue ads from other organizations, and cleared the way for a private group's ad that seeks to end U.S. aid to Islamic countries using a provocative headline and a photograph of Adolf Hitler meeting with an Arab leader.
"It is clear that the anti-disparagement standard promulgated by SEPTA was a principled attempt to limit hurtful, disparaging advertisements," Goldberg wrote. "While certainly laudable, such aspirations do not, unfortunately, cure First Amendment violations."
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