Missouri files brief supporting Arizona’s ban on businesses that boycott Israel


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri, along with eight other states, filed a brief in federal court supporting Arizona’s law that prohibits the State from entering into procurement contracts with businesses that boycott Israel.

The amicus brief was filed the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday. Missouri led the brief and was joined by Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Kansas, Arkansas, Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana.

A lower court ruled in September that Arizona cannot enforce a law that prevents companies that contract with the state from boycotting Israel. The judge determined that the law likely infringes on contractors’ free-speech and assembly rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.

The brief filed in support of Arizona’s appeal of the injunction argues that the States have a compelling interest in withholding state funding from businesses that engage in invidious discrimination, including discrimination against Israelis based on their nationality or national origin. The brief notes that several states have enacted laws similar to the challenged Arizona law.

The brief further argues that the preliminary injunction entered by the district court could throw Arizona’s government-procurement processes into disarray during the pendency of the appeal.

“The States have a fundamental and compelling interest in preventing invidious discrimination, and they may use procurement-contract regulations as a means of implementing that anti-discrimination interest. Further, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, the States have a legitimate interest in avoiding the appearance and actuality of subsidizing the discriminatory policies of private entities with state funds,” Attorney General Hawley wrote in the brief.

A copy of the brief can be viewed here.