United States v. American Library Association, Inc., 539 U.S. 194, 18 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 194 (2003)

Opinion of Rehnquist, C. J.

139 (1973) (Stewart, J., concurring) ("The First Amendment protects the press from governmental interference; it confers no analogous protection on the government"); id., at 139, n. 7 (" 'The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect private expression' " (quoting T. Emerson, The System of Freedom of Expression 700 (1970))). See also Warner Cable Communications, Inc., v. Niceville, 911 F. 2d 634, 638 (CA11 1990); Student Govt. Assn. v. Board of Trustees of the Univ. of Mass., 868 F. 2d 473, 481 (CA1 1989); Estiverne v. Louisiana State Bar Assn., 863 F. 2d 371, 379 (CA5 1989).

We need not decide this question because, even assuming that appellees may assert an "unconstitutional conditions" claim, this claim would fail on the merits. Within broad limits, "when the Government appropriates public funds to establish a program it is entitled to define the limits of that program." Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U. S. 173, 194 (1991). In Rust, Congress had appropriated federal funding for family planning services and forbidden the use of such funds in programs that provided abortion counseling. Id., at 178. Recipients of these funds challenged this restriction, arguing that it impermissibly conditioned the receipt of a benefit on the relinquishment of their constitutional right to engage in abortion counseling. Id., at 196. We rejected that claim, recognizing that "the Government [was] not denying a benefit to anyone, but [was] instead simply insisting that public funds be spent for the purposes for which they were authorized." Ibid.

The same is true here. The E-rate and LSTA programs were intended to help public libraries fulfill their traditional role of obtaining material of requisite and appropriate quality for educational and informational purposes.5 Congress

5 See 20 U. S. C. 9121 ("It is the purpose of [LSTA] (2) to stimulate excellence and promote access to learning and information resources in all types of libraries for individuals of all ages"); S. Conf. Rep. No. 104-230, p. 132 (1996) (The E-rate program "will help open new worlds of knowledge, learning and education to all Americans . . . . [It is] intended, for


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