Amdt1.7.13.4 Conditions on Federal Funding

First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

From 1980 to 2020, much of the Court’s jurisprudence on free-speech-related unconstitutional conditions developed in the context of conditions on federal funding, specifically federal grant programs.1 These cases proceeded from the principle, identified in Regan v. Taxation with Representation of Washington,2 that the government is not required to subsidize speech with which it does not agree.

The Supreme Court has found unconstitutional funding conditions outside of the free-speech context as well. E.g., Nat’l Fed. of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012). See Intro.7.3 Federalism and the Constitution; ArtI.S8.C1.2.1 Overview of Spending Clause. back
461 U.S. 540 (1983). back