FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATEMENT: CDF-Texas Applauds Federal Appeals Court’s Decision Ruling Key Aspects of Texas Book Rating Law Unconstitutional
If House Bill 900 were to take effect, it would force booksellers to rate the literature they sell to schools based on their level of ‘explicitness’.
John Henry, JHenry@childrensdefense.org, CDF Media Relations Manager, 708-646-7679
New Orleans, LA—Children’s Defense Fund-Texas welcomes a federal court decision to block parts of a Texas law that would have effectively required booksellers to rate the literature they sell to schools based on vague and arbitrary standards of “explicitness”.
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its ruling on Wednesday, according to Texas Tribune. The court said the legislation at the center of the legal dispute, Texas’ misguided House Bill 900, would have violated the First Amendment rights of bookstores and publishers.
Governor Greg Abbott first signed HB 900 into law in June, as censorship against books discussing race, gender, and student rights surged in school districts across Texas and several other states. However, a U.S. District Court judge temporarily blocked the legislation before it was scheduled to take effect in September. The law would have also required parental consent to read certain books in schools.
Maggie Stern, CDF-Texas’ Youth Engagement and Civic Education Manager, issued the following statement regarding the ruling:
“The Fifth Circuit’s ruling is a victory for the booksellers leading this lawsuit and for the students, families, and advocacy organizations fighting for the freedom to read and learn. We urge school districts to stand with students to oppose any further book bans. Our young people deserve access to books that reflect their own lives, teach them about others’ lives, and inspire them to lead.”
CDF-Texas is joined by PEN America, Students Engaged in Advancing Texas, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, and Intercultural Development Research Association in supporting Texas students’ freedom to read.
*Children’s Defense Fund-Texas staff can be made available for interviews on this court case today.
About Children’s Defense Fund
Since 2023, Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. The only national, multi-issue advocacy organization working at the intersection of child well-being and racial justice, CDF advances the well-being of America’s most diverse generation, the 74 million children and youth under the age of 18 and 30 million young adults under the age of 25. CDF’s grassroots movements in marginalized communities build power for child-centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth. Its renowned CDF Freedom Schools® program is conducted in nearly 100 cities across 30 states and territories. Learn more at www.childrensdefense.org.