Texas Judge Strikes Down Controversial Book Rating Law: Here’s Why
Hey folks, if you’re wondering what’s up with Texas and book ratings, you’re not alone. There’s been a ton of chatter about a Texas law that would’ve made book retailers go through this insane process of reviewing and rating books for “obscene content.” Thankfully, a Texas judge said, “Hold on a minute,” and took a stand for free speech.
Judge Alan D. Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas just laid down the law, figuratively speaking. He made it clear that Texas can’t just dump the task of rating books on businesses. Why? Well, according to the judge, that’d be forcing them to say things they might not want to say—a big no-no under the First Amendment.
Here’s a slice of what he said:
“Texas really dropped the ball here. They’re asking businesses to navigate a ratings maze without a roadmap. And the kicker? The state could just override all that hard work, no questions asked.”
But wait, there’s more. Even Texas itself seemed to be scratching its head on how the law would work. They couldn’t even explain the basics during court hearings. If you’re introducing a law, shouldn’t you at least know how it works? Talk about a facepalm moment.
Here’s another wrinkle: let’s say you own a bookstore and you’ve categorized books the way you think the law requires. But then the Texas Education Agency (TEA) swoops in and changes everything. What can you do? Absolutely nothing. No appeals. You’re just out of luck and potentially “blacklisted” from selling to schools.
After the ruling, there was a collective sigh of relief from various stakeholders. Business owners, authors, and free-speech advocates all said something along the lines of, “Thank you for saving us from this madness.” Trust me; this is a big win for anyone who loves books and hates red tape.
The state, however, didn’t take it lying down and has already appealed. They’re not thrilled about losing their “sovereign immunity,” but that’s a story for another day.
So, what did we learn? Free speech still matters, folks. When a law tries to put words in your mouth—or in this case, ratings on your books—you’ve got the right to say, “Not so fast.”
And if you’re in Texas, you can take a moment to appreciate that your local bookstore won’t have to turn into a bureaucratic nightmare. At least, not today.