On July 29, a federal judge delivered a highly anticipated ruling on two key provisions of a recently passed Arkansas state law.
In a lengthy opinion and order, Judge Timothy L. Brooks determined that specific sections of Act 372 were highly likely to be found unconstitutional, and he issued a preliminary injunction blocking them. The provisions would have exposed librarians and booksellers to criminal liability for making allegedly inappropriate or “harmful” books accessible to minors in the state.
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“The ruling means that these two key provisions did not go into effect this week with the rest of the law,” explains Publishers Weekly’s Andrew Albanese.
“Judge Brooks concluded that portions of the law are ‘too vague to be understood and implemented effectively’” Albanese tells me. “if enacted, the law would ‘permit, if not encourage, library committees and local governmental bodies to make censorship decisions based on content or viewpoint, which would violate the First Amendment.’”