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MoveOn.org beats Louisiana's government in billboard lawsuit

Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to CPAC, March 2013.
Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to CPAC, March 2013.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.
On Monday, a federal judge ruled that a billboard critical of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal can remain standing, despite the state government's attempts to have it taken down.

The liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org put up the Baton Rouge billboard to criticize Jindal's decision not to participate in Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid. The group is running similar ads in several states, but for this particular one, MoveOn decided to use the logo and slogan of a Louisiana state-run tourism campaign. So the state sued. You can see the similarities below:

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The lawsuit was brought by Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, who runs the tourism office. Dardenne said he didn't sue at Jindal's behest. "The governor does not control me or control the Office of Tourism," he told the Times Picayune.

In his lawsuit, Dardenne argued that the billboard would bring "irreparable injury" to the state, and that confused onlookers could think Dardenne himself bought the billboard to criticize Jindal. But the judge concluded that "the Lieutenant Governor underestimates the intelligence and reasonableness of people viewing the billboard."

Dardenne's not yet sure if he'll appeal the decision. But one thing's clear — the lawsuit has ensured that thousands more people will see the billboard than MoveOn.org ever expected. You can read the full ruling here.

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