Federal judge strikes down Idaho “Ag-Gag” law.
- As previously covered on this blog, several states have enacted “Ag-Gag” laws that generally seek to prevent individuals or organizations from investigating and publicizing farming conditions and practices that occur on private property. Thus far, Utah’s and Idaho’s laws have been challenged on 1st and 14th Amendment grounds.
- On August 3, 2015, an Idaho federal judge ruled that the state’s Ag-Gag law is unconstitutional. According to the ruling, the law violates the 1st Amendment by suppressing free speech. The judge also held that the law violates the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment because, in his view, the statute was enacted to target and limit the efforts of animal rights activists. Idaho’s attorney general has not yet announced whether the state plans to appeal the decision in the Ninth Circuit.
- Utah’s Ag-Gag challenge is still proceeding, so it remains to be seen how a district court in the Tenth Circuit will rule on substantially similar issues. If the ruling is consistent, this could spell the end of Ag-Gag laws in several other states. But if Utah’s law is upheld and a circuit split ensues, Ag-Gag issues could make their way to the Supreme Court. In either case, Idaho’s landmark ruling casts doubt on the future of Ag-Gag laws and bills across the nation.