Jordahl v. Brnovich — First Amendment Challenge to Anti-Boycott Law

The First Amendment protects many forms of political protest, including parades, picketing, and boycotts. In recent years, however, over 20 states across the country have passed laws designed to quash the political boycotts of the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement, a movement that opposes Israeli policy toward Palestinians and U.S. policy toward Israel. The Knight Institute has submitted an amicus brief on behalf of 13 First Amendment scholars in, Jordahl v. Brnovich, A lawsuit challenging one such law in Arizona. The law requires state contractors to certify that they do not boycott Israel.

The brief explains that Arizona’s law violates the First Amendment because it was enacted to suppress the political expression and association of BDS supporters. It also explains that no other legitimate government interest justifies Arizona's effort at singling out BDS boycotts for regulation. State legislatures cannot constitutionally ban political protest just because they disagree with the protest's message.