Public transport agency advertising: a reasoned approach is needed to assess political advertising | Holland & Knight LLP

Public transport agency advertising: a reasoned approach is needed to assess political advertising |  Holland & Knight LLP

There is probably no mode of transportation that President-elect Joe Biden relishes more than the public train. A September 2020 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit declaring that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) ban on political advertising was unconstitutional will certainly be of interest. See Center for Investigative Reporting v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, 975 F.3d 300, 304 (3d Cir. 2020).

Specifically, the Third Circuit found that SEPTA’s advertising standards, which included a ban on political ads, violated the First Amendment because the ban was incapable of “reasoned enforcement” and could instead be used to arbitrarily restrict and inconsistently speaking.

The case against SEPTA was brought by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), a California-based news organization that sought to place an advertisement inside SEPTA buses. The proposed advertisement consisted of …

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