(WASHINGTON, DC, 11/4/2022) – On Monday, Nov. 7, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is scheduled to deliver oral arguments in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in A&R Engineering and Testing, Inc. v. Ken Paxton.
CAIR’s First Amendment lawsuit is on behalf of the engineering firm, owned by Rasmy Hassouna, who refused to sign an anti-BDS loyalty oath to Israel as part of the company’s contract with the City of Houston. CAIR achieved a major victory on behalf of Rasmy when the district court judge granted a preliminary injunction ordering the City of Houston to enter into a contract with A&R Engineering without the anti-BDS clause, signaling the anti-BDS clause is likely unconstitutional.
MEDIA ADVISORY: The argument will take place on Monday, November 7, at 9:00am at 600 S Maestri Pl, New Orleans, LA 70130.
[NOTE: The term “BDS” refers to the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Modeled after the global South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS movement’s stated goal is to pressure the Israeli government to end its occupation of Palestinian territory.]
Rasmy Hassouna is a Palestinian American engineer who owns the engineering firm A&R Engineering. When it came time for Hassouna to sign a renewed contract with the City of Houston for engineering services, the contract included language requiring Hassouna, born in Gaza, to certify that he does not and will not boycott the State of Israel. The State of Texas requires any company with ten or more full-time employees and a value of at least $100,000 to sign this certification verifying that it does not boycott the State of Israel if the company wishes to contract with a governmental entity.
Earlier this year, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction in favor of Hassouna, ordering the City of Houston to enter into contract with Hassouna without the anti-boycott language. The State of Texas has appealed. The Fifth Circuit will hear arguments about whether expressive conduct like a boycott is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
CAIR’s Challenge to Texas Anti-BDS Law Supported by Amicus Briefs Filed by Coalition of Civic Groups, Scholars