Texas AG, universities face suit over Israel boycott law
DALLAS (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas on Tuesday filed a lawsuit over a state law requiring contractors to certify that they do not boycott Israel or Israel-controlled territories, arguing the law forces people to choose between their First Amendment rights and their livelihoods.
The ACLU says the law went into effect last year and that similar requirements appear in more than a dozen states but still violate First Amendment protections. State Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with two school districts and two universities, are listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the four plaintiffs bringing the suit have either lost “contracting opportunities” because they declined to sign the certification, or they signed “at the expense” of their First Amendment rights. One plaintiff lost two service contracts from a university, and another was forced to forfeit payment for judging a debate tournament tied to a school district, according to the suit.
The suit follows a speech language pathologist’s lawsuit this week against Paxton and a school district over the law. According to the earlier suit, the woman was forced to end her contractual relationship with the district because she would not sign the certification.
Tuesday’s lawsuit also asks the court to declare that the certification requirement violates both the First Amendment and 14th Amendment.
“We can’t stay silent when states are violating the First Amendment in this way,” said ACLU staff attorney Vera Eidelman. She said the ACLU has sued three other times over similar laws.