By Ann E. Marimow, washingtonpost.com, 3-26-18
A federal appeals court on Monday considered whether Metro’s policy barring issue-oriented advertisements on buses, trains and transit stations goes too far in keeping out all religious messages.
The case reached the court after Metro rejected a 2017 holiday campaign from the Archdiocese of Washington with the message “Find the Perfect Gift.” The planned banner ads featured a biblical Christmas scene and link to a website that encouraged people to attend Mass or donate to a Catholic charitable group.
A central question before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit: Can Metro allow secular advertisers to promote Christmas shopping and charitable giving, but not the church?
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was unrelenting in questioning Metro’s lawyer, former solicitor general Donald B. Verrilli Jr., and stated unequivocally his view that the policy is “pure discrimination” in violation of the First Amendment.
Kavanaugh, who is on President Trump’s list of candidates for possible Supreme Court vacancies, made several references to recent high court opinions, including a 2017 ruling that sided with a Missouri church denied access to government grants meant for a secular purpose. » Read More