US Western District Rules Against Pflugerville ISD in Boycott Israel Free Speech Case Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation and their ideas from suppression at the hands of an intolerant society

US Western District Rules Against Pflugerville ISD in Boycott Israel Free Speech Case

25 April 2019 at 11:13:57 PM

Link to court decision on ACLU site.  This is about lawsuit Bahia Amawi v Plugerville Independent School District.

From Informed Comment

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today welcomed this afternoon's landmark victory in CAIR's First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of Bahia Amawi, the Texas speech language pathologist who lost her job because she refused to sign a "No Boycott of Israel" clause. 

This case is about whether Texas may prohibit boycotting the State of Israel as a condition of public employment. Plaintiffs in this case are all participants or supporters of the “BDS” movement. .....Congress, however, has declared that it “opposes politically motivated actions that penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, such as boycotts of, divestment from or sanctions against Israel.” 19 U.S.C. § 4452. Twenty-five states have enacted legislation or issued executive orders restricting boycotts of Israel, ....In 2017, Texas joined those states opposing the BDS movement when it enacted House Bill 89, codified at Tex. Gov. Code § 2270.001 et seq. (“H.B. 89”). Texas emphasizes that H.B. 89 was “widely supported” and “passed unanimously in the House, and 26-5 in the Senate.” (Texas Resp. Mots. Prelim. Inj., Dkt. 25, at 1; Texas Mot. Dismiss, Dkt. 55, at 1). As a result of the State’s disapproval of the BDS movement, Plaintiffs allege that they have lost the benefit of public Case 1:18-cv-01091-RP Document 82 Filed 04/25/19 Page 2 of 56 3 employment with the State of Texas, or fear losing such employment, and that H.B. 89 prohibits them from exercising their First Amendment right to boycott the State of Israel.

So, should a person who wants to commercially or otherwise boycott Israel be forced not to do so while having their freedom of speech curtailed? Nope. 

I love this, from Judge Robert Pittman, (bolding is mine) 


The Court reiterates that this case is about whether Texas may prohibit boycotting the State of Israel as a condition of public employment.It is not about the merits of the significant and contentious public debate surrounding the relationship between Israel and Palestine. In coming to its conclusions, the Court is guided by first principles. “At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that each person should decide for him or herself the ideas and beliefs deserving of expression, consideration, and adherence. Our political system and cultural life rest upon this ideal.” Turner Broad. Sys. v. FCC, 512 U.S. 622, 641 (1994) (citations omitted). Texas has forcefully defended its decision to support Israel, and has emphasized that if is “far from alone” in its decision to enact “anti-BDS” legislation. (Texas Resp. Mots. Prelim. Inj., Dkt. 25, at 3–4). Twenty five states have enacted similar legislation or issued executive orders restricting boycotts of Israel, (see id. at 3), and Congress has declared its opposition to the BDS movement, see 19 U.S.C. § 4452. In Texas, only five legislators voted against H.B. 89. (Texas Resp. Mots. Prelim. Inj., Dkt. 25, at 4). Texas touts these numbers as the statute’s strength. They are, rather, its weakness. “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” W. Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943). “[T]he  purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular[,]” is “to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation—and their ideas from suppression—at the hands of an intolerant society.” McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U.S. 334, 357 (1995). Thus, “our citizens must tolerate insulting, and even outrageous, speech” in public debate. Boos, 485 U.S. at 322. They must do so “in order to provide ‘adequate breathing space’ to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment.” Id. (citing Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46, 56 (1988)). With H.B. 89, Texas compresses this space. The statute threatens “to suppress unpopular ideas” and “manipulate the public debate through coercion rather than persuasion.” Turner, 512 U.S. at 641. This the First Amendment does not allow. For the reasons given above, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff Amawi’s motion for a preliminary injunction, (Dkt. 8-2), and the Pluecker Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, (Dkt. 14-1, 1:18-CV-1100), are GRANTED. Defendants, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this Order, are preliminarily ENJOINED from enforcing H.B. 89, codified at Tex. Gov. Code § 2270.001 et. seq, or any “No Boycott of Israel” clause in any state contract.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the State of Texas’s motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 55), is DENIED.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the University Defendants’ motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 24), is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that LISD’s motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 43), is DENIED.

IT IS FINALLY ORDERED that KISD’s motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 44), is DENIED.

SIGNED on April 25, 2019

. _____________________________________ ROBERT PITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 



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