Intrepid CUNY Law students Kathleen Thomas and Lauren Parnes were undaunted by the recent articles in the National Law Journal and the New York Times about scarcity of public seats at U.S. Supreme Court arguments. Arriving at the high court’s public line at 3am, Parnes and Thomas were first in line for seats to attend the April 22 oral argument in one of the Term’s most watched First Amendment cases, Agency for International Development vs. Alliance for Open Society. They provided their analysis on the blog of the Best Practices Policy Project, which provides resources for advocates working with sex workers and people in the sex trade. Parnes is writing about the case for her First Amendment class taught by Distinguished Professor Ruthann Robson, and Thomas for her Academic Legal Writing class taught by Professor Andrea McArdle.
The case is a First Amendment challenge to a a provision of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003. The provision requires some international aid recipients to have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution (including the legalization of sex work) and sex trafficking. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held the provision unconstitutional.