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Judge Asked to Toss Lawsuit over ‘Ag-gag’ Law after Appeal

From an article in MeatingPlace by Chris Moore on 6/19/2024

Iowa officials asked for a federal judge to toss a lawsuit from several animal right activist groups fighting the state’s law intended to criminalize the use of video and audio recordings “on trespassed property” in agricultural facilities, according to a motion filed Friday.

The plaintiff groups, which include Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Bailing Out Benji and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, claimed the law violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In September 2022, the Iowa federal court ruled in favor of the activists, but in January, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to reinstate a law. The panel said the activist-dubbed “Ag-gag” law is viewpoint-based and said that it represents a permissible restriction on intentionally false speech intended to cause harm.

The state’s motion cites the appeal’s court ruling that the law does not violate lawful free speech.

The court also noted the importance of balancing free speech concerns with the need to regulate deceptive practices that could lead to harm in the context of agricultural facilities.

In October, the SCOTUS declined to hear a similar law out of North Carolina, affirming the lower court’s decision on the infringement of free speech.

The highest court also declined to hear Kansas’s appeal in May 2022. In both instances, SCOTUS’s decision to not hear the case sided with the appeals courts, which favored the activists.

Link to article: HERE