1. A city always violates the First Amendment if
it makes content-based distinctions when it allows private advertising
on its public property.
2. In Lehman, a majority of the United States
Supreme Court held that commuters' right of privacy was an adequate
reason, by itself, for the City of Shaker Heights to exclude political
messages from the "car card" space in its rapid transit system.
3. The California Supreme Court relied upon free
speech guarantees of the California Constitution when it overturned
the Alameda-Contra Costa County's exclusion of an anti-Vietnam War
advertisement from the district's motor coaches.
4. The precedential value of the California
Supreme Court's Wirta decision remains undiminished.
5. For First Amendment purposes, public property
is classified as either a public forum, designated public forum or
6. A government entity may designate an area of
public property to a public forum for limited purposes.
7. Streets and parks are considered to be
designated public forums unless they have been specifically dedicated
by the government to be open for expressive activity.
8. Litigation over private advertising programs
on public property most often involves the line between traditional
public forum and nonpublic forum.
9. Of all the federal courts of appeals, the
Ninth Circuit has deferred most to the managerial decisions of
government entities that conduct private advertising programs.
10. The Ninth Circuit relied on the Lehman case
to invalidate the City of Phoenix's decision to exclude
noncommercial advertising from bus panels.
11. Nevada's Clark County School District
succeeded in barring family planning service advertisements from its
student newspapers, yearbooks and athletic programs.
12. Amtrak successfully excluded a political
advertisement from a Pennsylvania Station billboard on the grounds
that the advertising space was a nonpublic forum.
13. The Second Circuit required New York's
Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display a political
advertisement critical of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
14. How lower courts have applied the Lehman
principle most often has turned on the written policy adopted by the
government entity in question to regulate participation in its private
15. The manner in which a government entity
conducts a private advertising program often is determinative of
public forum status.
16. If a government entity allows only commercial
advertising in its private advertising program, then it signals to a
reviewing court that making money is its primary goal.
17. A city's declaration that an advertising
space is a nonpublic forum will be dispositive if the issue is raised
18. Consistent enforcement of the eligibility
criteria for a private advertising program is unnecessary to persuade
a court that an advertising space is intended to be a nonpublic forum.
19. Public officials may lose their qualified
immunity from damages liability by rejecting submissions to a private
advertising program based on the viewpoint expressed.
20. Cities enjoy absolute discretion to determine
whether or not to lease advertising space on their public property.