For Immediate Release
February 27, 2007
Susan Lehman, 212–998–6318
Mike Webb, 212–998–6746
Rebekah Diller, 212–992–8635
Brennan Center Statement on D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in DKT International v. USAID, et. al.
NEW YORK, NY Today the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law issued the following statement in response to the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in DKT International v. USAID. The Brennan Center for Justice assisted in the representation of the plaintiffs, with the law firm of Jenner & Block serving as lead counsel. The statement may be attributed to Rebekah Diller, counsel at the Brennan Center and an advisor on this case.
We’re saddened by the Court’s decision. Twice before, federal judges found that the government cannot coerce public health organizations into making ideological pledges that restrict their privately funded speech in order to be eligible for federal grants. said Diller. “The key concern should be whether these organizations are effectively doing the agreed upon work, not whether they’ll sign on to a politically mandated pledge that undercuts their HIV prevention efforts. We believe that placing these types of speech restrictions on nonprofits goes against the First Amendment and we will continue to fight them.”
The case involves a federal requirement that public health groups that receive federal funds pledge their opposition to prostitution in order to continue their life-saving HIV prevention work. Under this pledge requirement, recipients of U.S. funds are forced to censor even their privately funded speech regarding the most effective ways to engage high-risk groups in HIV prevention.
A decision on whether DKT International will appeal the case is expected in the next few weeks. More details on the case can be found here.