Attorney General Alan Wilson Joins 26-state Coalition Supporting Religious Liberty Before U.S. Supreme Court

July 9, 2024

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson joined a coalition of 26 states that filed a brief Friday before the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the Hillsborough County Transit Authority’s no-religious-speech advertising policy. The coalition urged the Court to review the policy because it infringed on the First Amendment rights of a Jewish synagogue, Young Israel of Tampa, to advertise on public transportation in Tampa, Florida.

“I believe this policy is clearly unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment,” Attorney General Wilson said. “And a public body, having a policy against religious advertising is also discriminatory.”

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) rejected Young Israel of Tampa’s proposed advertisement for its “Chanukah on Ice” event because it was religious. And it accepted another group’s advertisement for its “Winter Village” event because it was not religious. Under HART’s no-religious-speech advertising policy, that singular difference—that one ad was religious and the other was not—led the government entity to reject “Chanukah on Ice” and accept “Winter Village.”

There have been two previous multistate briefs in support of Young Israel before the Eleventh Circuit.

Besides South Carolina, the Alabama-led coalition includes the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

You can read the states’ brief here.