Sunday, February 04, 2018

Court Enjoins Kansas Anti-Israel Boycott Law

In Koontz v. Watson, (D KA, Jan 30, 2018), a Kansas federal district court issued a preliminary injunction barring Kansas form enforcing Kan. Stat. Ann. § 75-3740f(a).  The law requires all state contractors to certify that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel. The law was challenged by a teacher who is a member of the Mennonite church who wants to participate as a teacher trainer in the state's Math and Science Partnership program.  The court, relying on the U.S. Supreme Court's 1982 decision in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., concluded that the law infringes plaintiff's free speech rights:
Ms. Koontz, other members of the Mennonite Church, and others have “banded together” to express, collectively, their dissatisfaction with Israel and to influence governmental action.... She and others participating in this boycott of Israel seek to amplify their voices to influence change, as did the boycotters in Claiborne. The court concludes that plaintiff has carried her burden on the current motion to establish that she and others are engaged in protected activity.
The ACLU issued a press release announcing the decision, and has links to other documents in the case.