Respondents (the people being sued) The Alliance for Open Society International receive federal taxpayer money to help fight HIV/AIDS outside the United States. Worthy goal, but I already take issue with the idea that the U.S. taxpayer is on the hook for this. But enough of my libertarian concerns for now.
Such funds provided by government come with a rule that any agency doing such work, to oppose prostitution and sex trafficking. Again, my libertarianism says I’m down with forbidding sex trafficking, but there’s nothing wrong with voluntary prostitution. But let’s move on.
Back in 2013, SCOTUS ruled on U.S. Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International Inc., that such rules violate the first amendment’s right to free speech. But despite this ruling/precedent, the government continues to apply this rule to foreign affiliates of Alliance.
So now SCOTUS is being asked if the ruling applies to people not directly involved in the case, such as affiliates of Alliance.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) argues that such protection from the precedent only applies to people within the US, because only they get 1st amendment protections. Since this is assistance that is outside the US, it shouldn’t apply.
In a 5:3 decision (Kagan abstained), SCOTUS sided with USAID. That the policy opposing prostitution is not unconstitutional, and can be applied to them.
Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.