Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the American Civil Liberties Union:
Laws Targeting Israel Boycotts Fail Again in Court
By Brian Hauss, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project
SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 | 4:00 PM
* TAGS Rights of Protesters Free Speech
A new wave of state laws that try to limit Americans’ constitutional right to engage in political boycotts is now 0 for 2 in federal court.

On Thursday night, a federal court blocked Arizona from enforcing a law requiring state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel. The court agreed with the ACLU that the law likely violates contractors’ free speech rights under the First Amendment.

“A restriction of one’s ability to participate in collective calls to oppose Israel unquestionably burdens the protected expression of companies wishing to engage in such a boycott,” U.S. District Court Judge Diane J. Humetewa wrote in her decision [1] issuing a preliminary injunction against the law.

This is the second federal court to consider this type of boycott ban, and they both came to the same conclusion. Earlier this year, the ACLU successfully blocked [2] a remarkably similar law in Kansas. In that case, the court held that the First Amendment protects citizens’ right to “band together” and “express collectively their dissatisfaction with the injustice and violence they perceive, as experienced both by Palestinians and Israeli citizens.”

We filed the Arizona lawsuit on behalf of Mikkel Jordahl, an attorney who has contracted with the state for the last 12 years to provide legal services on behalf of incarcerated individuals at the Coconino County Jail. Jordahl opposes Israel’s settlement expansion in Palestinian territories and what he considers Israel’s unwillingness to ensure the rights of Palestinians under its rule.

As a supporter of boycott campaigns targeting Israel, he refuses to purchase goods and services offered by companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. He wants to extend the boycott to his one-person law firm and to provide legal support to other boycott activists.

But Arizona’s law, enacted in August 2016, forbids state contractors from engaging in those activities. Last year, when Jordahl was asked to sign the no-boycott certification in order to renew his contract with Coconino County, he refused.

As the court in our case recognized, Arizona’s law directly violates state contractors’ First Amendment right to participate in collective efforts to advocate for social change. The right to participate in political boycotts was clearly established by the Supreme Court in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware, a 1982 decision holding that the First Amendment protected an NAACP-organized boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi to protest ongoing racial segregation and inequality.

Quoting the Supreme Court, Judge Humetewa wrote, “The type of collective action targeted by the [law] specifically implicates the rights of assembly and association that Americans and Arizonans use ‘to bring about political, social, and economic change.’”

The Kansas and Arizona decisions send a clear message: The First Amendment right to boycott is alive and well. But our work is far from over. Similar contract requirements are on the books in Georgia, Arkansas, Minnesota, Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Florida, Maryland, and Wisconsin. [3] All of these laws violate the First Amendment. The hard work of repealing them should be taken up by state legislators who still value our constitutional freedoms.
[1] https://www.acluaz.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/order_granting_plaintiffs_motion_for_preliminary_injunction.pdf
[2] https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/rights-protesters/laws-targeting-israel-boycotts-fail-first-legal-test
[3] http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20152016/SB/327
http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2017/2017R/Acts/Act710.pdf
https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/%3fid=21&year=2017&type=0#laws.0.4.0
http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx%3fLegSess=85R&Bill=HB89
http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/gp9
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/41-16-5.htm
https://www.governor.pa.gov/governor-wolf-signs-bill-prohibiting-state-from-contracting-with-businesses-that-boycott-israel/
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(0welhbrgnlimyxibqpxswpxy))/mileg.aspx?page=GetMCLDocument&objectname=mcl-18-1241c
https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Bills/SB/SB26_EN.pdf
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t11c035.php
http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE37/37-2.6/37-2.6-3.HTM
http://laws.flrules.org/2016/36
https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MDGOV/2017/10/23/file_attachments/900819/Executive%2BOrder%2B01.01.2017.25.pdf
https://walker.wi.gov/sites/default/files/executive-orders/EO%20%23261_0.pdf
Copyright 2018 American Civil Liberties Union.
Originally posted by the ACLU at https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/rights-protesters/laws-targeting-israel-boycotts-fail-again-court

Automatically Permitted Distribution. Unless the specific web page from which ACLU text material is available indicates you may not do so, you may copy or distribute text materials that appear on the ACLU Site, in print or digital format, subject to three limitations:
1. You may not use the materials for any commercial purpose, including any purpose connected with the sale of goods or services;
2. You may not make editorial changes to material you attribute to us; and
3. You may not excerpt, juxtapose, or present attributed material in any way that is misleading as to our original editorial intent, or as to your relationship with us.
You may also copy or distribute ACLU Content that is not ACLU text materials if and only to the extent that the specific launching page from which that ACLU Content is accessible, and/or the ACLU Content itself, explicitly indicates that the ACLU Content may be distributed in a specified manner, subject to the same three limitations stated above.
All distributed copies, whether of text or non-text materials, must display the following copyright notice:
 Copyright [2018 or other year indicated] American Civil Liberties Union.
Originally posted by the ACLU at [complete address of source page].
https://www.aclu.org/aclu-site-user-agreement