USAID v. Alliance for Open Society (2013) - Wikipedia

Agency for International Development et al. v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.
Argued April 22, 2013
Decided June 20, 2013
Full case nameAgency for International Development et al. v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., et al.
Docket no.12-10
Citations570 U.S. 205 (more)
133 S. Ct. 2321; 186 L. Ed. 2d 398; 2013 U.S. LEXIS 4699; 81 U.S.L.W. 4476
Case history
PriorOn 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.
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
Clarence Thomas · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer · Samuel Alito
Sonia Sotomayor · Elena Kagan
Case opinions
MajorityRoberts, joined by Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor
DissentScalia, joined by Thomas
Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
Laws applied
U.S. Const. Amends. I; U. S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act (2003)

Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., 570 U.S. 205 (2013), also known as Alliance for Open Society I (to distinguish it from the 2020 case), was a 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.[1][2]


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".[3] Many AIDS agencies preferred to remain neutral on prostitution so as not to alienate the sex workers they work with to reduce HIV rates.[4]

DKT International filed a lawsuit in Washington, DC but the challenge to the law was defeated on appeal.[5] 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.[6] The district court judge ruled in their favor, and the provision has effectively been blocked since.[7] 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.[1]

Later case[edit]

While the U.S. government subsequently did not hold American NGOs to the Policy Requirement for funding, it continues to require foreign affiliates of these NGOs to the requirement. A new set of lawsuits on this action began, and while the case upheld the Supreme Court ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5–3 decision in Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for Open Society in 2020 that the foreign affiliates were considered separate non-American entities of the American NGOs, and thus did not enjoy the First Amendment freedom of speech protections rights in this case.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Agency for Int'l Dev. v. Alliance for Open Soc'y Int'l, 570 U.S. 205 (2013).
  2. ^ Denniston, Lyle (20 June 2013). "Easing the leash on speech". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ Liptak, Adam (20 June 2013). "Justices Say U.S. Cannot Impose Antiprostitution Condition on AIDS Grants". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  4. ^ Mientka, Matthew (22 April 2013). "US Supreme Court Divides On Free Speech Rights Of Health Groups". Medical Daily. IBT Media. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  5. ^ "ACLU and Public Health Groups Urge Appeals Court to Reject Bush Global AIDS Gag" (Press release). American Civil Liberties Union. 21 December 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  6. ^ Roberts, John (20 June 2013). "AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT v. ALLIANCE FOR OPEN SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL". Oyez Project. Chicago–Kent College of Law. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  7. ^ Denniston, Lyle (20 April 2013). "He who pays the piper..." SCOTUSblog. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  8. ^ Kruzel, John (June 29, 2020). "Supreme Court rules US requirements on overseas NGOs do not violate free speech". The Hill. Retrieved June 29, 2020.

External links[edit]