Jordahl v. Arizona

A lawsuit challenging Arizona's anti-BDS law

On January 24, 2019, the Knight Institute filed an amicus brief on behalf of thirteen prominent First Amendment scholars in Jordahl v. Arizona, a case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit considered a challenge to an Arizona law requiring state contractors to certify that they will not boycott Israel.

Arizona 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 explained 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 brief also explained that the language of Arizona’s anti-boycott law, as well as its legislative history, make clear that it was intended to silence a particular political viewpoint expressed by groups critical of Israeli and U.S. policy.

The Knight Institute filed similar amicus briefs in Arkansas Times v. Waldrip and Amawi v. Pflugerville Independent School District.

Status: On January 6, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth 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: Jordahl v. Arizona, No. 18-16896 (9th Cir.).

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