Idaho ‘ag-gag’ law goes down in federal appeals court

The 9th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found unconvincing Idaho’s defense of their law criminalizing hidden cameras on farms. In ruling that the law was mostly unconstitutional, the court disagreed that the recording of agricultural operations was activity rather than speech. It decided that Idaho could not criminalize the act of misrepresenting when entering a farm since the state already criminalizes trespass.  (Capital Press, January 4, 2018, by Mateusz Perkkowski)

The 9th Circuit ruled the part of the law criminalizing misrepresentation to enter a facility was overbroad and reflected lawmakers stated intentions of shutting down free speech and investigative journalism. (Common Dreams, January 5, 2018, by Andrea Germanos)

The three-judge panel did uphold the law’s ban on taking a job through misrepresentation with the aim of causing economic injury to the farm. (Courthouse News Service, January 4, 2018, by June Williams)

In pitting the property and  privacy rights of the farmers against the First Amendment right to engage in undercover investigations, the two-judge majority in part relied on United States v. Alvarez in which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a federal stolen valor law criminalizing false claims of military awards. (Constitutional Law Prof Blog, January 4, 2018, by Ruthann Robson)

For earlier FAC coverage on the issue, click here.


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