Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: First Amendment
  • Date Filed: June 20, 2013
  • Case #: 12-10
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Roberts, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Sotomayor, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Thomas, J., joined. Kagan, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
  • Full Text Opinion

The First Amendment does not allow for a policy that compels affirmation of a belief to be a condition for federal funding.

The United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 was enacted to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Congress authorized funds to non-governmental organizations as long as they met two conditions. First, funds cannot be used to promote prostitution or sex trafficking. Second, funds can only be used by an organization that explicitly opposes prostitution and sex trafficking. The issue in this case is whether the second condition, the Policy Requirement, violates the First Amendment.

Respondent, organizations combating HIV/AIDS overseas, allege the Policy Requirement requires censorship and is burdensome when working with governments, prostitutes, and victims of sex trafficking. The District Court granted a preliminary injunction to bar the Government from terminating funding. The Government appealed and created new guidelines. The injunction was reevaluated and affirmed by both the District Court and the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court affirmed and compared this case to FCC v. League of Women Voters of California, where the law was unduly burdensome because it gave no option to present personal beliefs. In addition, the Court held that the Government’s purpose for the first condition is to ensure funds will be used in ab authorized way. The Policy Requirement is included only to compel a particular belief, and thus violates the First Amendment.

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