Attorney General Laxalt Brief Supporting Arizona’s Law Against Anti-Israeli Discrimination

October 15, 2018

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt and eight other attorneys general filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit defending an Arizona law that, like a similar law in Nevada, disallows state government contractors to actively discriminate based on nationality or national origin against Israel. After a federal District Court judge in Arizona enjoined the Arizona law, Arizona filed for a stay of the injunction in the Ninth Circuit. Nevada’s brief urges the Ninth Circuit to temporarily suspend the effect of the district court’s judgment pending an appeal.

    Nevada and other states represented on the brief have enacted laws limiting a company from contracting with the State if that company is also participating in boycotts of Israeli companies or people solely on the basis of their Israeli nationality. The brief explains that Arizona’s law, like Nevada’s, is a classic anti-discrimination measure that prohibits invidious discrimination on the basis of nationality or national origin. The brief further explains how Arizona and other states would be affected by the District Court judge’s order because it would take states a substantial amount of time and effort to issue new request proposals for contracting processes already in place.

      “Nevada has long had a strong interest in preventing invidious discrimination based on nationality—an interest that is reflected in Nevada’s laws, including its law preventing the government from contracting with companies that boycott Israel,” said AG Laxalt. “Nobody should be required to do business with a company that discriminates based on nationality, least of all the State itself. The people of Nevada have a right to refuse to economically support discrimination based on nationality, and we will continue to defend that right.”

        In 2017, Nevada’s Senate Bill 26, sponsored by Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison, was enacted by a combined legislative vote of 58-2, and signed by Governor Brian Sandoval. The bill declares that boycotts can be a “tool of economic warfare” that threaten the “sovereignty and security of key allies and trade partners” like Israel, and that such boycotts often are grounded in “discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin.” Nevada’s response to this was to make it state policy to consider a company’s participation in such efforts in (1) “awarding grants and contracts” or in (2) receiving state investment. S.B. 26 applies to refusals to do business with Israel or persons or entities doing business in Israel “on the basis of nationality, national origin or religion.”

          The case is Mikkel Jordahl, et. al., v. Mark Brnovich, et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-08263-DJH. In addition to Nevada, other states that participated in this filing include: Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia. To view the filed brief, click here.