What's at Stake
This lawsuit asserts that Arkansas’ Act 710, which requires government contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel or “Israeli-controlled territories,” violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Filed on behalf of the Arkansas, an independent weekly newspaper, this lawsuit challenges Arkansas’ Israel anti-boycott law on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The law (Act 710) requires government contractors to either certify they are not boycotting Israel or “Israeli-controlled territories.” The lawsuit claims that the law unconstitutionally penalizes participation in politically-motivated consumer boycotts and suppresses one side of a public debate.
For many years, the Arkansas Times entered into advertising contracts with the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College (Pulaski Tech). But in 2018, Pulaski Tech demanded that the Arkansas Times certify that it is not participating in boycotts of Israel in order to renew its advertising contract. Although the Arkansas Times is not boycotting Israel, it refused to sign the certification on principle. Represented by attorneys with the ACLU and ACLU of Arkansas, the Arkansas Times filed this lawsuit asserting that Act 710 unconstitutionally singles out boycotts of Israel for financial penalties.
In January 2019, the district court dismissed the case and the ACLU and ACLU of Arkansas appealed the matter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Two years later, a three-judge panel held that Act 710 violates the First Amendment. The full Eighth Circuit decided to rehear the case and upheld the law. The court asserted that, although the First Amendment protects speech and association supporting a boycott, the purchasing decisions at the heart of a boycott are not expressive enough to merit First Amendment protection.
In October 2022, Arkansas Times LP asked the Supreme Court to take up the case and clarify that Arkansas’ content- and viewpoint-discriminatory law violates the First Amendment by penalizing consumer boycotts whose message the state disfavors. In its petition, Arkansas Times LP asserts that the Eighth Circuit’s decision upholding Act 702 conflicts with the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., a case holding that a civil rights boycott of segregated Southern businesses was protected. If that case means anything at all, Arkansas Times LP argues, it means that a state cannot selectively penalize politically motivated consumer boycotts whose message the state disapproves. The Supreme Court denied Arkansas Times LP’s petition for a writ of certiorari on February 21, 2023.
Reply Brief in Support of Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
Brief in Opposition to Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
Amicus Briefs in Support of the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
- Amicus Brief of the Forum for Constitutional Rights & the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Supporting Petitioner
- Amicus Brief of First Amendment Scholars Supporting Petitioner
- Amicus Brief of T'ruah et al. Supporting Petitioner
- Amicus Brief of Professor Lawrence Glickman Supporting Petitioner
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
Appellants' Response to Appellees' Petition for Rehearing En Banc
Appellees' Petition for Rehearing En Banc
Appellant's Reply Brief
Amicus Briefs in Support of Arkansas Times LP
- Amicus Brief of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal
- Amicus Brief of Council on American Islamic Relations
- Amicus Brief of First Amendment Scholars
- Amicus Brief of Groups Participating in Boycotts of Israel
- Amicus Brief of Institute for Free Speech and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
- Amicus Brief of National Lawyers Guild and Project South
- Amicus Brief of Prof. Lawrence Glickman
- Amicus Brief of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 15 Media Organizations
- Amicus Brief of T'ruah and J Street
Appellees' Answering Brief
Appellant's Opening Brief