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16 states back call for rethink of law

by Jaime Adame | April 8, 2021 at 3:06 a.m.

Sixteen states are supporting a petition by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to have a full panel of judges reconsider a ruling that found the state's anti-boycott law in violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich submitted the legal brief in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, part of the high-profile fight over a 2017 Arkansas law that added a pledge to not boycott Israel as a part of vendor contracts with the state of $1,000 or more.

A three-judge panel in February reversed a decision by a federal district court judge that dismissed a lawsuit challenging the law.

The Arkansas Times, a news publication in Little Rock, sued over the law with claims relating to lost advertising revenue and is being represented in the case by attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged similar laws in other states.

The February ruling "unjustifiably threatens the laws of many other states," says the filing from the Arizona attorney general that lists as supporters the attorneys general from Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. All are Republicans, as is Rutledge.

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