Supreme Court strikes down ‘prostitution pledge’ in AIDS funding

The United States Supreme Court Building in Washington D C

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In a setback for the Obama administration, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday voided an anti-prostitution provision in the federal anti-AIDS funding program.

The decision is a victory for private aid organizations who said the provision, which required them to explicitly oppose prostitution and sex trafficking as a condition for getting federal dollars, has blocked them from serving at-risk AIDS populations around the world, such as sex workers.

It is a violation of the First Amendment to require people “to pledge allegiance to the government’s policy of eradicating prostitution” as a funding condition, said the 6-2 decision, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Associate Justice Elena Kagan, who was the Obama administration’s solicitor general before joining the court in 2010, recused herself from the case. Associates Justice Antonin Scalia and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.



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