by Leslie Brueckner, Senior Attorney at Public Justice.
*This post originally appeared on the Public Justice blog.
Late yesterday, a federal court in Idaho denied the state’s motion to dismiss our constitutional challenge to Idaho’s Ag-Gag law.
The court’s 33-page ruling affirms that Idaho’s statute—which criminalizes whistleblowing at factory farms—may violate the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Big Ag is now officially on notice that these laws are constitutionally suspect.
Proponents of Ag-Gag laws—currently on the books in 16 states—vigorously defend them against First Amendment challenge on the ground that they are merely “content neutral” efforts to protect factory farms from trespassers. The court in our case did not mince words in dismissing this argument: “it is a fallacy to suggest, as the State does, that the misrepresentation provisions prohibit only conduct and not speech.”