Eighth Circuit Upholds Ban on Deliberate Deception in Employment Applications with Intent to Harm

Judge Colloton, along with Judges Grasz and Kobes, in the opinion for Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds (8th Cir. 2021), addressed a new Iowa law that prohibited false speech in relation to access to agricultural production facilities and on certain employment applications. The court previously ruled the employment provision was unconstitutional, but the new law addressed this issue by narrowing the scope and adding an intent requirement. The court disagreed with the district court’s conclusion that the intent requirement was unconstitutional, as it did not constitute a viewpoint-based restriction. The court found that the new law was consistent with the First Amendment, as it targeted false speech that resulted in a legally cognizable harm, without distinguishing based on the speaker’s viewpoint. The court also referenced related case law and previous decisions from the Ninth Circuit in their reasoning. Overall, the court concluded that the Iowa statute was a permissible restriction on intentionally false speech undertaken to accomplish a legally cognizable harm.