A federal judge in Texas has ruled in favor of a speech pathologist who was fired from her job after refusing to sign paperwork stating she would not boycott Israel. Bahia Amawi filed suit against the state after she was let go from her position at an elementary school following the passing of H.B. 89, which gave the state of Texas authorization to fire employees supporting the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel. Amawi argued that the bill violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman also heard consolidated lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of four others. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the bill wasn’t meant to regulate individuals, but rather corporate behavior.
Judge Pitman issued an injunction ruling that the bill is likely unconstitutional writing, “The Court finds that H.B. 89’s plain text, the statements surrounding its passage, and Texas’s briefing in this case reveal the statute to be a viewpoint-based restriction intended not to combat discrimination on the basis of national origin, but to silence speech with which Texas disagrees.”
Bahia Amawi first noticed the statute appearing in text for contract renewal defining boycotting Israel as “refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict harm on, or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory.”