Publication Date



Historically,political boycotts have occupied a central
place in American tradition, going as far back as the
Founding. However, the years of 2016 and 2017 have
marked a sudden influx of state anti-boycott legislation.
Georgia was no exception, passing a statute in 2016
prohibiting those who boycott Israel from contracting
with the state. This statue violates the FirstAmendment
guaranteesof freedom of speech. First, boycotts of Israel,
or BDS as they are collectively called, are protected
political speech. The Supreme Court has repeatedly
protected politically motivated boycotts, despite their
detrimental economic effects. Further, Georgia's anti-
boycott legislation impermissibly stifles that protected
speech by conditioning government contracts on the
relinquishment of constitutional rights. The Supreme
Court has struck down such legislation-even if the
beneficiary has no right to the benefit-as
unconstitutional. Lastly, the Georgia does not have a
defense of government speech, as contracts have not been
historically used to convey a government message. The
freedom to engage in political speech through boycotts
lays at the center of First Amendment rights, and the
Supreme Court will likely strike down Georgia's statute
as unconstitutional.