(April 27, 2020 / JNS) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Monday dismissed a lawsuit challenging Texas’s anti-BDS law, ruling that the lawsuit is moot because the legislation was modified.
The anti-BDS law was narrowed in May 2019 as Gov. Greg Abbott signed an updated version of the 2017 law, exempting individuals and smaller companies, specifically those with fewer than 10 full-time employees or valued under $100,000.
In the ruling, Judge E. Grady Jolly wrote that the pro-BDS plaintiffs—Bahia Amawi, John Pluecker, Zachary Abdelhadi, Obinna Dennar and George Hale—are no longer affected by the law and therefore “lack a personal stake in the outcome of this litigation. This case is thus moot, and we [vacate] the preliminary injunction order. Further, we [remand] the case to the district court to enter an appropriate judgment dismissing the complaints.”
The plaintiffs alleged that the anti-BDS law violated the First Amendment.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled in April 2019 that the Texas law prohibiting government contractors from boycotting Israel is unconstitutional.
Joseph Sabag, IAC for Action’s executive director, hailed the decision by the U.S. court.
“We are pleased to have played a leading role in helping the Amawi case meet its end. States like Texas have created laws that carefully regulate commercial activity, and not the conduct of private speech. Anti-BDS laws are narrowly tailored, anti-discrimination laws, similar to many other anti-discrimination laws that protect, among other categories of people, women, racial minorities and LGBTQ individuals,” he said.
“There is a direct connection between the BDS Movement and anti-Semitic crime and discrimination. States have a compelling interest in protecting their citizens and economies from BDS boycotts. Thankfully, with the release of so much evidence and documentation of BDS’ anti-Semitic nature, it’s becoming more difficult for these bad actors to exploit deficiencies in judicial and legislative understanding of the matter.”
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