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Supreme Court holds virtual oral argument in First Amendment case
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Supreme Court holds virtual oral argument in First Amendment case

The US Supreme Court held its second virtual oral argument Tuesday morning in a First Amendment dispute.

In Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., parties are arguing whether Congress can require foreign recipients of HIV and AIDS relief funds to have explicit policies opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.

The case is rooted in a 2013 decision, where the Supreme Court concluded that such a condition on the funding of US-based organizations violates the First Amendment. The 2013 court stated that the requirement “compels 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 federal government determined that the 2013 precedent does not apply to foreign groups, which is now being litigated.

Tuesday morning’s argument marks the second day of conducting oral arguments via telephone. Social distancing and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 have forced the Supreme Court to adopt the new format. Live audio for arguments is being provided to the public.