Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

U.S. appeals court blocks Texas law that could ban or restrict library books

By 37ci3 Jan18,2024



A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked a Texas law requiring ratings from booksellers dealing with school libraries, agreeing with a lower court that found it unconstitutional.

This was announced by the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals located in New Orleans in a decision It was published on Wednesday that the state cannot violate the Constitution.

“We agree that the state is interested in protecting children from harmful library materials. But what [the State] nor does the public have an interest in enforcing a rule that violates federal law,” the appeals court wrote.

The ruling bars the Texas Education Agency from enforcing the law.

Those suing to block the Texas law, which covers bookstores and unions representing authors and publishers, said the appeals court ruling was historic and that it protects authors and allows parents to make decisions about their children without government interference.

“This is a good day for bookstores, readers and freedom of expression,” the plaintiffs said said in a joint statement.

A law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature would have forced any bookstore to rate books in public schools for sexual content.

The law prompted warnings that its broad language could lead to the banning or restriction of Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, Maus and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, according to a lawsuit filed by booksellers last year. .

According to court documents, it was supposed to take effect on September 1, and the ratings were due on April 1. A lower court ruled in September to block its execution.

More information about book limits

A lower court found that decisions in other cases compel a “conclusion that the statute is unconstitutional,” and the Supreme Court ruled that people are free from government-coerced speech.

In that lower ruling, U.S. District Judge Alan Albright found that sections of the law — the Explicitly Restricting Adult Educational Resources Act, or the READER Act — were unconstitutional by specifying a large difference in the grades and ages that booksellers would be required to read. is uncertain. try to take into account.

The Texas Education Agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

The appeals court found that bookstores and others challenging the law would succeed on the grounds that the act violated their First Amendment rights.

It also found that they had suffered irreparable economic injury. One of the booksellers, Blue Willow, claimed to have sold $200,000 worth of books to a school district in Katy over the past five to seven years, but the district has now stopped all purchases from any vendor.

The law also means that booksellers will have to appraise books that have already been sold. Blue Willow estimated it would cost between $200 and $1,000 per book to comply with the law and between $4 million and $500 million to value books already sold, with annual sales of just over $1 million, according to the appeals court opinion.



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