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A Big Win in the Texas Book Rating Law Case

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A Big Win in the Texas Book Rating Law Case

Jan 19 2024

In a major victory for freedom to read advocates, the Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals on January 17 upheld a lower court decision to block key provisions of HB 900, Texas’s controversial book rating law, finding that the law likely violated First Amendment protections against compelled speech.

In an unequivocal 36-page decision, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit—viewed by many as the most conservative court in the nation—easily dispatched with the state’s key legal arguments (that the plaintiffs lacked standing, that the case was not ripe, and that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by sovereign immunity) and made it only to the first of the plaintiffs’ multiple constitutional claims—that the mandatory book ratings at the heart of the law represent compelled speech.

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