The feisty local tabloid has two MBTA-related stories pretty much to itself today.
First, Kimberly Atkins’ column on an advertising rumpus that’s shadowed the T for two years now.
T ad issue may merit court’s consideration
Free-speech dispute on Supreme’s radar
WASHINGTON — A free-speech dispute over political ads in MBTA buses, trains and stations is likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court and could have far-reaching effects on paid messages on public property.
The case stems from 2013, when the MBTA agreed to post paid ads from pro-Palestinian group Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine that read: “4.7 million Palestinians are classified by the U.N. as refugees.” But the T then rejected the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s ad, submitted in response, which read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
So far, as Atkins reports, “[t]wo federal courts had backed the MBTA’s decision to reject the AFDI ad, under its policy barring ‘disparaging’ or ‘demeaning’ messages.”
Prior to those two decisions, the MBTA’s batting average in ad dustups was well below the Mendoza Line, as the hardreading staff noted two years ago. And Atkins also writes that “[i]n New York and Philadelphia, by contrast, courts have ordered transit agencies to run paid ads they had rejected, including one that claimed Muslims believe ‘killing Jews is worship.'”
So who knows if it even gets to the Supremes, and who knows how they’ll lean.
But we’re guessing the MBTA loses this one too.
Elsewhere in today’s Herald, there’s this news from the T’s Ghost of Winter Past.
Scott bows out of bid for NTSB post
President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of former MBTA chief Beverly Scott to the National Transportation Safety Board, abruptly ending her controversial bid to the $155,000-a-year post, the Herald has learned.
Obama officially rescinded her nomination yesterday, according to a White House document viewed by the Herald. A White House spokesman said last night Scott requested that her nomination be withdrawn “due to personal reasons related to her family.”
Efforts to reach Scott were unsuccessful.
That’s a surprise, eh?
(To be fair graf goes here)
To be fair, today’s Boston Globe does have a squib (via the State House News Service) about Scott, although it tells a slightly different story.
Huh. Maybe we need Scott herself to come forward as the tiebreaker.
Yeah – that’s coming just like a Riverside train.