AG Paxton Joins Multistate Brief Defending Arizona’s Law Keeping Taxpayer Money from Firms that Boycott Israel
Attorney General Ken Paxton and his counterparts from eight other states filed a friend-of-the-court brief defending an Arizona law that prohibits state-funded contractors from boycotting Israel. Texas enacted a similar law in response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, whose political goal is to change policy toward Israel.
In their brief, the multi-state coalition asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to temporarily lift a lower court’s preliminary injunction against Arizona’s law pending an appeal. The brief explains that the law is an anti-discrimination measure that prohibits invidious discrimination on the basis of nationality or national origin.
“Arizona’s law, which is similar to those in Texas, Nevada and many other states, supports a long-established principle of non-discrimination and is wholly constitutional,” Attorney General Paxton said. “None of these anti-boycott statutes infringe on a person’s right to express anti-Israel or anti-Semitic views. But the First Amendment does not require the states to subsidize a state-funded contractors’ discriminatory boycott with taxpayer funds.”
The brief further explains how Arizona and other states would be affected by the District Court judge’s order because it would take states a substantial amount of time and effort to issue new request proposals for contracting processes already in place.
During last session, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 89, which prohibits the state from contracting with and investing in companies that boycott Israel. Israel is Texas’ fourth biggest trading partner. In February, Attorney General Paxton, joined by his counterpart from Nevada, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. District Court in support of Arizona’s law.
View a copy of the friend-of-the-court brief here.