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Constitutional Law — freedom of speech

U.S. Supreme Court


Constitutional Law — freedom of speech

It violates the First Amendment to compel, as a condition of federal funding, an affirmation of opposition to prostitution.

The distinction between conditions that define a federal program and those that reach outside it is not always self-evident, but the Court is confident that the Policy Requirement falls on the unconstitutional side of the line. To begin, the Leadership Act’s other funding condition, which prohibits Leadership Act funds from being used “to promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution or sex trafficking,” §7631(e), ensures that federal funds will not be used for prohibited purposes. The Policy Requirement thus must be doing something more—and it is. By demanding that funding recipients adopt and espouse, as their own, the Government’s view on an issue of public concern, the Policy Requirement by its very nature affects “protected conduct outside the scope of the federally funded program.” Rust, supra, at 197. A recipient cannot avow the belief dictated by the condition when spending Leadership Act funds, and assert a contrary belief when participating in activities on its own time and dime.

651 F.3d 218, affirmed.

12-10 AID v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.

Roberts, C.J.; Scalia, J., dissenting.

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