Supreme Court rejects church challenge to ban on bus ads

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The Supreme Court is shown, Monday, April 6, 2020 in Washington. The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from the Catholic church in Washington, DC, that sought to place religious-themed ads on public buses. (AP Photo/Mark Sherman)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a Catholic church in Washington, D.C., that sought to place religious-themed ads on public buses.

The justices are leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling that found no fault with the Washington transit agency policy that banned all issue-oriented advertisements on the region’s rail and bus system.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington sought to place an ad on the outside of public buses in the fall of 2017. The ad showed the silhouette of three shepherds and sheep accompanied by the text, “Find the Perfect Gift.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh took no part in the court’s consideration of the case because he served on the three-judge panel that heard arguments at the appeals court where he served before joining the Supreme Court in 2018.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a brief separate opinion to assert that the matter would have been different had Kavanaugh been a part of the case. “Because the full Court is unable to hear this case, it makes a poor candidate for our review. But for that complication, however, our intervention and a reversal would be warranted,” Gorsuch wrote, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

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