In Your Face, Istook


Today the anti-drug-war ads that Congress tried to ban return to Washington's Metro system. Last year, outraged by the audacity of citizens who dared to question drug prohibition, Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) used a transportation spending bill to withhold federal funding from any transit system that accepts ads promoting "the legalization or medical use of [proscribed] substances." In June a federal judge ruled that the Istook amendment violated the First Amendment. "There is a clear public interest in preventing the chilling of speech on the basis of viewpoint," wrote U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman. "The government articulated no legitimate state interest in the suppression of this particular speech other than the fact that it disapproves of the message, an illegitimate and constitutionally impermissible reason."

Last month the government asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn Friedman's decision. In the meantime, evidence of dissent from the drug war can be seen at the Metro's Union Station and Capitol South stops.