On April 15, 2019, the Knight Institute filed an amicus brief on behalf of thirteen prominent First Amendment scholars in Arkansas Times v. Waldrip, a case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is considering a challenge to an Arkansas law requiring state contractors to certify that they will not boycott Israel.
Arkansas 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 Amawi v. Pflugerville Independent School District.
Status: On June 22, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, sitting en banc, held that Arkansas' anti-BDS law did not violate the First Amendment and affirmed the district court's decision. Petition for a Writ of Certiorari denied on February 21, 2023.
Case Information: Ark. Times v. Waldrip, No. 19-1378 (8th Cir.), No. 22-379 (Supreme Court).