The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request from American anti-Shariah fighter Pamela Geller to hear her case against the censorship of Muhammad ads on public transit in Washington, D.C.
A lower court had ruled the transit system was not a public forum, so it could censor the ads depicting Muhammad. But the issue likely won’t go away, reported the Washington Times, since the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington also has a case on appeal against Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s ad censorship.
Geller’s case is among several filed by her American Freedom Defense Initiative against various city transit systems and their ad restrictions.
She sued the WMATA after it refused to run her political ad against radical Islam.
The WMATA previously accepted political ads but abruptly changed its policy.
Geller’s AFDI submitted an ad to the WMATA that contained an image of an angry man wearing a turban and carrying a sword saying, “You can’t draw me!”
The ad’s punchline: “That’s why I draw you” and “Support free speech.”
The ad is from a “Draw Muhammad” event organized in 2015 by AFDI in Texas. Two Muslim terrorists tried to storm the venue but were shot and killed by security officers.
WMATA rejected Geller’s ad and announced it was no longer going to accept any type of “issue-oriented advertising.”
Geller challenged the police as a violation of the First Amendment. In 2012, she won a similar lawsuit against the WMATA over an ad that portrayed Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini alongside the text: “Staunch ally, the leader of the Muslim world.” The ad also contained the text: “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran.”
Geller had a similar ad fight in New York City. There, she tried to post ads on the city bus system of a menacing man with a masked face with text: “That’s his Jihad. What’s yours?” The ad also read, “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.”
The Supreme Court declined to hear the case without elaboration.
The archdiocese ad submitted an ad during the Christmas season suggesting the religious meaning behind the holiday.
“Viewpoint discrimination is always a matter of grave concern, but viewpoint discrimination against religious speech is particularly pernicious,” the archdiocese argues in court papers.
Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA School of Law, told the Washington Times that Geller’s case was procedurally sent back to the district court, so the justices might be waiting to take up the issue later.
He said “it’s certainly possible that the court will be more interested in the archdiocese petition.”
Geller has called the transit system’s policy change “an end-run around the First Amendment.”