Arkansas Times LP v. Waldrip, et al. (Amicus)

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

April 16, 2019

Current Status 

The Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal filed an amicus brief arguing the appellate court should reverse the lower court decision and grant the motion for a preliminary injunction by the Arkansas Times on April 16, 2019.

Co-Counsel 

Palestine Legal
Law Office of Matthew Strugar

Case Description 

Arkansas Times v. Waldrip is a case that challenges a 2017 Arkansas anti-BDS law that requires companies that contract with the state to pledge not to boycott Israel or reduce their fees. The Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal filed an amicus brief in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that it should reverse the lower court’s decision denying the motion for a preliminary injunction against the law and dismissing the case. This brief is part of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal’s work to challenge efforts to suppress First Amendment-protected activities in support of Palestinian rights, including attempts to restrict Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns. For more information about these efforts, see our joint report, The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the U.S.

The Arkansas Times is a local newspaper that contracts with state universities to run advertisements. Even though the newspaper does not take a position on BDS, its publisher refused to sign the certification, as he believed the state should not be able to impose ideological limitations on the press, and the Arkansas Times lost the advertising revenue. The district court in Arkansas denied the newspaper's motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissed the case; the Arkansas Times then appealed to the Eighth Circuit. The Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal’s brief describes the context of the broader, coordinated, and well-financed efforts by Israel-aligned groups to stifle a viewpoint in favor of Palestinian rights, as well as the long history of the tactic of boycotts to advocate for social change and the importance of the role of the courts in protecting First Amendment rights.

Case Timeline

April 16, 2019
Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal amicus brief in support of reversal of lower court decision
April 16, 2019
Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal amicus brief in support of reversal of lower court decision
Other amici, including First Amendment scholars and social justice and faith-based organizations, also file briefs in support of reversal.
April 8, 2019
Arkansas Times appellate brief
April 8, 2019
Arkansas Times appellate brief
January 23, 2019
Order denying motion for preliminary injunction and dismissing case
January 23, 2019
Order denying motion for preliminary injunction and dismissing case
December 11, 2018
Complaint and motion for preliminary injunction challenging Arkansas anti-BDS law
December 11, 2018
Complaint and motion for preliminary injunction challenging Arkansas anti-BDS law