First Amendment Challenges to State Anti-BDS Laws: Jordahl v. Brnovich and Arkansas Times v. Waldrip

The Supreme Court held almost four decades ago that politically motivated consumer boycotts are a form of protected speech. In recent years, however, more than 25 states have passed laws imposing burdens on boycotts associated with the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) movement—a political movement that seeks to influence the policies of Israel and the policies of the United States towards Israel. Arkansas and Arizona, for example, have both passed laws requiring state contractors to certify that they will not boycott Israel. Those laws have been challenged in court on First Amendment grounds by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Knight Institute has submitted amicus briefs on behalf of prominent First Amendment scholars in the Eighth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, in support of the legal challenges to these laws. The briefs explain that BDS boycotts are covered by the First Amendment.

Press Statements & Commentary:

Legal Documents:

Arkansas Times v. Waldrip (8th Cir.):

Jordahl v. Brnovich (9th Cir.):