Report: US District Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Barring Implementation of Texas Censorship Law
UPDATE September 12, 2023Texas Judge Hears Arguments Over Scope of HB 900 Injunction (via PW)
We will be updating this post with additional coverage as it becomes available.
On August 31, Judge Alan Albright of the U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas, stated that he plans to issue a preliminary injunction in Book People et al. v. Wong…
From the San Antonio Express News
Austin-based Judge Alan D. Albright told lawyers that the state could not enforce the law Friday, when it was planned to take effect, according to a spokesperson for plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit. The judge said he intends to publish a written order in the coming weeks blocking it entirely.
The decision almost certainly will be appealed to the conservative-leaning 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The law is designed to ban sexually explicit books from schools and restrict “sexually relevant” books so children can access them only if their parents consent. The burden would fall on booksellers to rate each book that they sell to schools, and stores have warned that the rule could be stifling for their businesses.
From The Texas Tribune
- Valerie Koehler, Owner of Houston’s Blue Willow Bookshop
- Charley Rejsek, the CEO of Austin, Texas-based bookstore BookPeople
- Allison K Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association
- Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers
- Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild
- Jeff Trexler, Interim Director of Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
During a status call held via Zoom today, Judge Alan D. Albright of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division indicated that he would issue a written order in one to two weeks granting a Preliminary Injunction barring the implementation of a new Texas censorship law in its entirety. In the interim, the state is enjoined from enforcement of any part of the law.
The law, known as “The Reader Act” (formerly HB 900), was signed by the Governor of Texas, and had been slated to go into effect on September 1, 2023.
“We are grateful for the Court’s swift action in deciding to enjoin this law, in the process preserving the long-established rights of local communities to set their own standards; protecting the constitutionally protected speech of authors, booksellers, publishers and readers; preventing the state government from unlawfully compelling speech on the part of private citizens; and shielding Texas businesses from the imposition of impossibly onerous conditions. We look forward to reading the court’s full opinion once it is issued.”
Read the Complete Statement
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.