By JOHN MARTIN The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court in Washington said Friday it is striking down a Texas law that requires attorneys to take civil actions to recover money they spent defending civil rights cases, ruling that lawyers who had to settle before a lawsuit was filed were not entitled to recoup their costs.
The U.A.E. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said in its ruling that Texas’ rule was an unreasonable intrusion on free speech and a violation of the First Amendment rights of plaintiffs and their lawyers to be free from unreasonable interference by government.
The U.W. 4th Circuit Court ruled unanimously that Texas’s rule violated the right to free speech.
The Texas law requires attorneys who have not already litigated civil rights lawsuits to settle their disputes with the state.
In the wake of the shooting death of former black Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Republican from El Paso, Texas became the latest U.K. state to pass such a law.
In January, the U.C.L.A.-based U.N. Human Rights Commission said that Texas had violated the rights of civil rights plaintiffs and the rights to due process by requiring them to pay legal fees to avoid civil action.
The appeals court ruling in Texas is the latest blow to efforts to limit the power of the U .
Supreme Court to overturn U.B.C.’s decision that a federal law barring state governments from imposing racial discrimination in employment on people of Hispanic origin violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.
A separate case, involving a state law that required lawyers who litigated the lawsuit against Texas to pay for their lawyers’ time, is pending in the Supreme Court.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said it would defend the Texas law.