The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday sued the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the government agency that operates the capital region's subway system and its primary bus network. The ACLU argues that the transit agency's policies for accepting advertisements on its subway stations, trains, and buses violate the First Amendment by discriminating against controversial and non-mainstream viewpoints.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are ideologically diverse: the ACLU itself, an abortion provider, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and alt-right-Internet-troll-to-the-point-Twitter-actually-banned-him Milo Yiannopoulos.
The inclusion of an alt-right figure like Yiannopoulos helps to demonstrate the ACLU's point that WMATA's policy squelches free-speech rights across the political spectrum. But Yiannopoulos' inclusion has also raised the hackles of some on the political left, who see associating with the controversial author as beyond the pale. Chase Strangio, an ACLU attorney who has represented whistleblower Chelsea Manning, posted a statement calling Yiannopoulos "vile" and attacking the ACLU for defending his First Amendment rights.