Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Georgia Anti-BDS Law Held Unconstitutional

 In Martin v. Wrigley, (ND GA, May 21, 2021), a Georgia federal district court held that Georgia's anti-Israel boycott law violates contractors' free speech rights and is unconstitutionally vague. The law requires that all state contracts contain a certification that the contractor is not engaged engaged in a boycott of Israel. It was challenged by a pro-Palestinian journalist who had been invited to speak at a conference at a state university. The court said in part:

Because the burden on speech imposed by O.C.G.A. § 50-5-85 is content based, it is subject to strict scrutiny....  Even assuming that Georgia's interest in furthering foreign policy goals regarding relations with Israel is a substantial state interest, Defendants fail to explain how Martin's advocacy of a boycott of Israel as any bearing on Georgia's ability to advance foreign policy goals with Israel. The law also is not narrowly tailored to achieve the state's purported interest....

The requirement contained in O.C.G.A. § 50-5-85 that parties seeking to contract with the state of Georgia sign a certification that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel also is unconstitutional compelled speech.

CAIR issued a press release announcing the decision.