Amawi v. Pflugerville Independent School District

A lawsuit challenging Texas's anti-BDS law

On December 3, 2019, the Knight Institute filed an amicus brief on behalf of thirteen prominent First Amendment scholars in Amawi v. Pflugerville Independent School District, a case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is considering a challenge to a Texas law requiring state contractors to certify that they will not boycott Israel.

Texas is one of more than 25 states that have enacted laws seeking to suppress boycotts associated with the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) movement — a political movement that seeks to influence Israeli policy and U.S. policy towards Israel. The Knight Institute's brief explains that BDS boycotts are protected under the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., which held that the First Amendment extends to politically motivated boycotts by consumers.

The Knight Institute filed similar amicus briefs in Jordahl v. Arizona and Arkanas Times v. Waldrip.

Status: On April 27, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed this appeal on the grounds that the plaintiffs’ claims for relief were made moot by a change to the law being challenged.

Case Information: Amawi v. Pflugerville Indep. Sch. Dist., No. 19-50384 (5th Cir.).

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