Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. was a 2013 United States Supreme Court decision in which the court ruled that conditions imposed on recipients of certain federal grants amounted to a restriction of freedom of speech and violated the First Amendment.
|Agency for International Development et al. v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.|
|Argued April 22, 2013
Decided June 20, 2013
|Full case name||Agency for International Development et al. v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., et al.|
|Citations||570 U.S. ___ (more)
133 S.Ct. 2321
|Prior history||On writ on certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; Alliance for Open Soc'y Int'l, Inc. v. U.S. Agency for Int'l Dev., 651 F.3d 218 (2d Cir. 2011) .|
|The Policy Requirement violates the First Amendment by compelling as a condition of federal funding the affirmation of a belief that by its nature cannot be confined within the scope of the Government program.|
|Majority||Roberts, joined by Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor|
|Dissent||Scalia, joined by Thomas|
|Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.|
|U.S. Const. Amends. I; U. S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act (2003)|
In 2003, the United States Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed a law providing federal government funds to private groups to help fight AIDS and other diseases all over the world, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). However, one of the conditions imposed by the law on grant recipients was a requirement, known as the anti-prostitution pledge, to have "a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking". Many AIDS agencies preferred to remain neutral on prostitution so as not to alienate the sex workers they work with to reduce HIV rates.
DKT International filed a lawsuit in Washington, DC but the challenge to the law was defeated on appeal. Alliance for Open Society International and Pathfinder International filed another suit in 2005. In 2008, InterAction, and the Global Health Council joined the suit against the provision in a federal court in New York City, arguing that the requirement to promote a specific message violated the First Amendment's protection of free speech. The district court judge ruled in their favor, and the provision has effectively been blocked since. On appeal, the Second Circuit Court upheld the judge's decision.
In November 2012, the Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari filed by USAID, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Center for Disease Control. In a 6-2 decision, the court ruled in a majority written by Chief Justice John Roberts that the government cannot force a private organization to publicly profess a viewpoint that mirrors the government's view but is not held by the organization itself. Such a requirement would be considered a form of "leveraging" and violated the First Amendment protection of free speech. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas jointly filed a dissenting opinion arguing that the majority's ruling would prevent government funding for specific ideological programs.