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Topic: #Kansas

Kansas May Not Penalize Holders of Pro-Palestinian Opinions

2018-02-01⊺17:22:35-06:00

Good news! Some federal judges are still acquainted with the Constitution!

“In a Major Free Speech Victory, a Federal Court Strikes Down a Law That Punishes Supporters of Israel Boycott”
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, January 31, 2018
https://theintercept.com/2018/01/31/kansas-bds-law-free-speech/

The enjoined law, enacted last year by the Kansas legislature, requires all state contractors — as a prerequisite to receiving any paid work from the state — “to certify that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel.” The month before the law was implemented, Esther Koontz, a Mennonite who works as a curriculum teacher for the Kansas public school system, decided that she would boycott goods made in Israel, motivated in part by a file she had seen detailing the abuse of Palestinians by the occupying Israeli government, and in part by a resolution enacted by the national Mennonite Church. …

A month after this law become effective, Koontz, having just completed a training program to teach new courses, was offered a position at a new Kansas school. But, as the court recounts, “the program director asked Ms. Koontz to sign a certification confirming that she was not participating in a boycott of Israel, as the Kansas Law requires.” Koontz ultimately replied that she was unable and unwilling to sign such an oath because she is, in fact, participating in a boycott of Israel. As a result, she was told that no contract could be signed with her.

In response to being denied this job due to her political views, Koontz retained the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the commissioner of education, asking a federal court to enjoin enforcement of the law on the grounds that denying Koontz a job due to her boycotting of Israel violates her First Amendment rights. The court on Tuesday agreed and preliminarily enjoined enforcement of the law.

#freedom-of-speech #Boycott-Divestment-and-Sanctions #Kansas

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John David Stone (havgl@unity.homelinux.net)

created June 1, 2014 · last revised December 10, 2018