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Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation

513 U.S. 374 (1995)

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Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation

United States Supreme Court

513 U.S. 374 (1995)

Facts

Michael Lebron (plaintiff) created billboard displays that served as commentary on public issues. Lebron entered into a contract to have his advertisement displayed on a very large billboard in Penn Station known as the Spectacular. The contract noted that the advertisement had to be reviewed by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, commonly known as Amtrak (defendant), which owned the billboard. Amtrak was created by the Rail Passenger Service Act, a federal statute, and the statute provided that most of the board of directors be appointed by the President of the United States. Congress specifically determined that continuing and improving railroad-passenger service was required by the public convenience and necessity. Amtrak continued to apply the same policy adopted by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Amtrak’s predecessor, which prohibited all political advertising on the Spectacular. Lebron later submitted a description of his planned advertisement, which was going to link Coors beer with right-wing political issues, including showing cans of Coors beer as missiles heading into a Nicaraguan village. Amtrak disapproved the advertisement based on its policy prohibiting political advertisements. Lebron filed a lawsuit, alleging that Amtrak violated the First Amendment in disapproving the advertisement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (O’Connor, J.)

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