Thursday, June 20, 2013

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

First Amendment, freedom of speech: in the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (Leadership Act), 22 U. S. C. §7601 et seq., Con­gress has authorized the appropriation of billions of dollars to fund efforts by nongovernmental organizations to combat HIV/AIDS worldwide. The Act imposes two related conditions: (1) No funds “may be used to promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution,” §7631(e); and (2) No funds may be used by an organiza­tion “that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution,”§7631(f). To enforce the second condition, known as the Policy Re­quirement, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) require funding recipients to agree in their award docu­ments that they oppose prostitution;
Held: 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.
The Policy Requirement mandates that recipients of federal funds explicitly agree with the Government’s policy to oppose prosti­tution. The First Amendment, however, “prohibits the government from telling people what they must say.” Rumsfeld v. Forum for Ac­ademic and Institutional Rights, Inc., 547 U. S. 47, 61. As a direct regulation, the Policy Requirement would plainly violate the First Amendment. The question is whether the Government may nonethe­less impose that requirement as a condition of federal funding (…) Rust illustrates the distinction. In that case, the Court considered Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which authorized grants to health-care organizations offering family planning services, but pro­hibited federal funds from being “used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” 500 U. S., at 178. To enforce the pro­vision, HHS regulations barred Title X projects from advocating abor­tion and required grantees to keep their Title X projects separate from their other projects. The regulations were valid, the Court ex­plained, because they governed only the scope of the grantee’s Title X projects, leaving the grantee free to engage in abortion advocacy through programs that were independent from its Title X projects. Because the regulations did not prohibit speech “outside the scope of the federally funded program,” they did not run afoul of the First Amendment. Id., at 197 (…). 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 (…) It requires them to pledge al­legiance to the Government’s policy of eradicating prostitution. That condition on funding violates the First Amendment (U.S.S.Ct., 20.06.2013, Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc., CJ Roberts).

Premier Amendement : liberté d’expression : le Congrès fédéral a autorisé par une loi fédérale le prélèvement de plusieurs millions de dollars en faveur d’organisations non gouvernementales dédiées au combat contre le VIH/SIDA. Pour bénéficier de ces fonds, la loi impose deux conditions cumulatives : ces fonds ne peuvent pas être utilisés pour la promotion ou pour des efforts visant à la légalisation de la prostitution, et ces fonds ne peuvent pas être attribués à des organisations dépourvues d’une politique qui s’oppose explicitement à la prostitution. Les organisations candidates aux subventions doivent signer un document indiquant que l’organisation s’oppose à la prostitution. La Cour considère que la première condition résiste à une analyse sous l’angle du Premier Amendement, mais pas la seconde condition. En effet, selon le Premier Amendement, le gouvernement ne peut prescrire à la population ce qu’il peut exprimer. La violation de la seconde condition précitée est donc évidente, mais il reste à examiner si le gouvernement peut néanmoins imposer cette condition, comprise comme une condition pour recevoir une subvention fédérale, à laquelle l’organisation est libre de renoncer. La Cour indique qu’il est loisible au législateur de prévoir que les programmes subventionnés soient soumis à des conditions (comme ici ne pas promouvoir la prostitution, ou dans une autre affaire ne pas promouvoir l’avortement), ce qui laisse libre l’organisation, dans d’autres de ses programmes qui ne sont pas subventionnés, de prendre des options libres face par exemple comme ici à la question de la prostitution (ou de l’avortement comme dans l’autre exemple).

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