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When the Government is acting as patron rather than as sovereign, the consequences of imprecision are not constitutionally severe. In the context of selective subsidies, it is not always feasible for Congress to legislate with clarity. If this were not so all Government programs awarding scholarships and grants on the basis of subjective criteria such as 'excellence' would be unconstitutional. See, e. g., 2 U. S. C. § 802 (establishing the Congressional Award Program to 'promote initiative, achievement, and excellence among youths in the areas of public service, personal development, and physical and expedition fitness'); 20 U. S. C. § 956(c)(1) (providing funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities to promote 'progress and scholarship in the humanities'); § 1134h(a) (authorizing the Secretary of Education to award fellowships to 'students of superior ability selected on the basis of demonstrated achievement and exceptional promise'); 22 U. S. C. § 2452(a) (authorizing the award of Fulbright grants to 'strengthen international cooperative relations'); 42 U. S. C. § 7382c (authorizing the Secretary of Energy to recognize teachers for 'excellence in mathematics or science education'). 


Insofar as it bears upon First Amendment concerns, the vagueness doctrine addresses the problems that arise ...

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