Source: Richard Wolf / USA Today
WASHINGTON — The federal government cannot require that groups using its money to combat HIV/AIDS overseas also oppose prostitution and sex trafficking, a divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Despite complaints from the Obama administration and some justices that the government has a right to pick and choose who receives federal funds, the court ruled such a pledge amounts to a loyalty oath that violates the First Amendment.
“The policy requirement goes beyond preventing recipients from using private funds in a way that would undermine the federal program,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “It requires them to pledge allegiance to the government’s policy of eradicating prostitution.”
The court issued two other decisions Thursday but put off its rulings on the term’s major cases involving same-sex marriage, voting rights and affirmative action. Those are likely to be handed down next week.
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