AUSTIN – A federal judge heard arguments today in lawsuits challenging a Texas law that requires government contractors to certify that they are not engaged in boycotts of Israel or territories controlled by Israel. The ACLU of Texas filed its lawsuit challenging the law in December on behalf of four Texans who were forced under the law to choose between signing the certification or forgoing professional opportunities and losing income.
Tommy Buser-Clancy, staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas, stated the following after today’s hearing:
“Today we argued for the fundamental First Amendment rights of all Texans. However you may feel about boycotts of Israel, the fact is that political boycotts are a legitimate, protected form of nonviolent protest, and the state cannot bar people from participating in them. We are grateful to have had this opportunity to stand up against government censorship in court today, and are hopeful that the court will rule that the First Amendment protects Texans against the government using its power to force us to choose one side or another in a public debate.”
The hearing today at the federal courthouse in Austin included arguments in the ACLU lawsuit, as well as in another lawsuit challenging the same statute that was filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).