At a Glance
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. On February 12, 2021, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court's decision, determining that the anti-BDS law is unconstitutional. An en banc panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals then affirmed the district court's decision on June 22, 2022, ruling that the law does not violate the First Amendment. The Supreme Court declined to review the case on February 21, 2023.
- Maria LaHood
- Leah Todd
Law Office of Matthew Strugar
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.