Alabama Joins Eight Other States In Banning State Contracts For Businesses Who Support The Boycott Of Israeli Products

JONATHAN TURLEY

israel1150px-Flag_of_Alabama.svgThere is a fascinating free speech case developing in Alabama where Gov. Robert Bentley approved a law banning firms that boycott Israel from doing business with Alabama state and local governments. It is a measure pushed hard by pro-Israel activists and is likely to replicated around the country. However, SB81, sponsored by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr, raises core free speech and associational rights. What is ironic is that it is a Republican measure that would seem to deny the type of free speech rights recognized in corporations in cases like Citizens United. If corporations have free speech rights like citizens, could a state bar anyone who was opposed to Israel from state employment or contracts? A court challenge would raise some very difficult and frankly close questions on the right of states to make such a distinction.

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