U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ruled in favor of Bahia Amawi, a former speech pathologist with Pflugerville ISD, who recently sued the state over the law after she was fired from her job for supporting BDS.
“I was shocked because I didn't know what my position as a speech therapist helping kids improve their language in an elementary school had to do with economic harm to Israel and why the government was trying to be involved in restricting me in boycotting a certain entity,” Amawi told the Observer in December. “I felt like my rights were taken away and that I had no choice in what products I could purchase.”
Amawi claimed that the Texas law violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Pitman agreed.
"(T)he 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," Pitman wrote in his decision.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office had argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because it was intended to regulate corporate behavior, rather than that of individuals.
“This is a complete victory of the First Amendment against Texas’ attempts to suppress speech in support of Palestine.” — Gadeir Abbas
“This is a complete victory of the First Amendment against Texas’ attempts to suppress speech in support of Palestine,” Gadeir Abbas, the senior litigation attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is backing Amawi's suit, said after the ruling. “More importantly, it’s a complete victory for all Texans, to engage in political speech without government censorship.”