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Ann Arbor Bus Agency Loses Key Ruling Over Ads

ANN ARBOR (AP) – A judge has ruled against the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority in a lawsuit that challenges the bus agency’s rejection of an anti-Israel ad.

Flint federal Judge Mark Goldsmith says the agency’s policy in favor of ads that are in “good taste” is vague and unconstitutional.

Blaine Coleman wants to put an ad on buses that would have skulls and bones and say, “Boycott `Israel.’ Boycott Apartheid.” He believes the Israeli government treats Palestinians unfairly.

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority says it turns down ads that ridicule people. Officials say Coleman’s ad would probably turn away riders, but the judge says the First Amendment trumps any business concerns.

The decision Friday doesn’t mean Coleman’s ad will get on buses. The judge plans to hold another hearing in the weeks ahead.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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