Lehman v. City of Shaker Heights,
418 U.S. 298 (1974)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Lehman v. City of Shaker Heights, 418 U.S. 298 (1974)

Lehman v. City of Shaker Heights

No. 73-328

Argued February 26-27, 1974

Decided June 25, 1974

418 U.S. 298


Petitioner, a candidate for state office, who was refused available advertising space on vehicles of a city transit system, brought this suit challenging the constitutionality of the municipal policy on which the refusal was based of not permitting political advertising but allowing other types of public transit advertising. The state courts declined to give petitioner relief, the Ohio Supreme Court holding that the city's refusal did not violate a candidate's free speech or equal protection rights.

Held: The judgment is affirmed. Pp. 418 U. S. 302-308.

34 Ohio St.2d 143, 296 N.E.2d 683, affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, MR. JUSTICE WHITE, and MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST, concluded that car card space on a city transit system is not a First Amendment forum, and that here the decision to limit transit advertisements to innocuous and less controversial commercial and service-oriented advertising -- thus minimizing chances of abuse, appearances of political favoritism, and the risk of imposing upon a captive audience -- is within the city's discretion, and involves no First or Fourteenth Amendment violation. Pp. 418 U. S. 302-304.

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS concluded that petitioner, though free to express his views to a willing audience, has no constitutional right to force his message upon a captive audience, which uses public transit vehicles not as a place for discussion, but only as a means of transport. Pp. 305-308

BLACKMUN, J., announced the Court's judgment and delivered an opinion, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 418 U. S. 305. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEWART, MARSHALL, and POWELL, JJ., joined, post, p. 418 U. S. 308.

Page 418 U. S. 299

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