270 F.Supp. 331 (D.Conn. 1967), Civ. 11821, Thompson v. Shapiro

Docket Nº:Civ. 11821
Citation:270 F.Supp. 331
Party Name:Thompson v. Shapiro
Case Date:June 19, 1967
Court:United States District Courts, 2nd Circuit, District of Connecticut

Page 331

270 F.Supp. 331 (D.Conn. 1967)

Vivian Marie THOMPSON


Bernard SHAPIRO, Commissioner of Welfare of the State of Connecticut.

Civ. No. 11821.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 19, 1967

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Brian L. Hollander, Hartford, Conn., for plaintiff.

Francis J. MacGregor, Asst. Atty. Gen., Hartford, Conn., for defendant.

Before SMITH, Circuit Judge, and BLUMENFELD and CLARIE, District judges.


J. JOSEPH SMITH, Circuit Judge:

This action was brought in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut under Title 28 U.S. Code, §§ 2281 and 2284, seeking a declaration that Chapter 299, § 17-2d of the Connecticut General Statutes is unlawful as in violation of the Constitution of the United States and seeking an injunction against its enforcement and payment of monies unconstitutionally withheld. A three-judge district court was convened pursuant to the statute, hearings were held, briefs were filed and arguments were made. Notification of pendency of the action was given to the United States because of possible effect on federal statutes, and the Solicitor General notified the court of his decision that the United States would not intervene in the case. 1 The court has considered the stipulations of facts, the testimony taken, the briefs and arguments of the parties, and finds the issues in favor of the plaintiff.

In June of 1966 Vivian Marie Thompson, the plaintiff in this action, and a citizen of the United States, moved from Boston, Massachusetts, to Hartford, Connecticut. Plaintiff's purpose in moving

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was to live near her mother. Then the mother of one and now the mother of two, plaintiff had been receiving Aid to Dependent Children (ACD) from the City of Boston. Boston discontinued this aid in September because of plaintiff's change of residence. When she applied for similar assistance to Bernard Shapiro, Commissioner of Welfare of the State of Connecticut and the defendant in this proceeding, he denied ADC to her on November 1 because plaintiff, although she was otherwise eligible had not met the one year residence requirement of Conn.Gen.Stat. § 17-2d which provides as follows:

'When any person comes into this state without visible means of support for the immediate future and applies for aid to dependent children under chapter 301 or general assistance under part I of chapter 308 within one year from his arrival, such person shall be eligible only for temporary aid or care until arrangements are made for his return, provided ineligibility for aid to dependent children shall not continue beyond the maximum federal residence requirement.'

As can be seen, it was to insure continuation of the state's right to receive the substantial payments which the federal government pays to the state for federally approved plans of state aid to needy families with children that § 17-2d is keyed to the federal limitation on residence requirements. At the present time, the Social Security Act, 49 Stat. 627 (1935), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 602(b) (1959), limits the length of the period of prior residence which a state can require as a condition of eligibility to one year in order to obtain such approval. Thus ADC programs are financed jointly by the state and federal governments and generally the responsibility is shared approximately equally. Some states, like Connecticut, impose the maximum residence requirement allowed by § 602(b); others require a shorter period of residence, or none at all. The Catholic Family Services of Hartford have been supporting plaintiff pending the outcome of this action; these private payments, however, are below Connecticut's ADC level. See, Harvith, The Constitutionality of Residence Tests for General and Categorical Assistance Programs, 54 Calif.L.Rev. 567, 569 n. 28 (1966) which cites as its authority, National Travelers Aid Ass'n, One Manner of Law-- A Handbook on Residence Requirements in Public Assistance 8-13 (1961).

The Welfare Department of the State of Connecticut has promulgated regulations which construe in the following manner the words 'without visible means of support for the immediate future' contained in § 17-2d:

1. Persons or families who arrive in Connecticut without specific employment.

2. Those arriving without regular income or resources sufficient to enable the family to be self-supporting in accordance with Standards of Public Assistance.

3. 'Immediate future' means within three months after arriving in Connecticut.

NOTE: Support from relatives or friends, or from a public, private, or voluntary agency for three months after arrival will not satisfy the requirements of the law, which relates to selfsupport rather than to dependency.

Connecticut Welfare Manual, Vol 1, Ch. II, § 219.1.

In accord with the above, the regulations further provide:

1. If the application for assistance is filed within one year after arrival in Connecticut, the applicant must establish that he was self-supporting upon arrival and for the succeeding three months thereafter; or

2. If the application for assistance is filed within one year after arrival in Connecticut, the applicant must clearly establish that he came

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to Connecticut with a bona fide job offer; or

3. If the application for assistance is filed within one year after arrival in Connecticut, the applicant must establish that he sought employment and had sufficient resources to sustain his family for the period during which a person with his skill would normally be without employment while actively seeking work. Personal resources to sustain his family for a period of three months is considered sufficient. Those who come to Connecticut for seasonal employment such as work in tobacco or short term farming are not deemed to have moved with the intent of establishing residence in Connecticut. Connecticut Welfare Manual, Vol. 1, Ch. II, § 219.2.

Thus, Connecticut withholds ADC for one year to newly-arrived residents unless they come to Connecticut with substantial employment prospects or a certain cash stake.

Plaintiff came to Connecticut with neither the prospect of employment nor the necessary cash stake. It is her contention in this action that Connecticut's denial of ADC results in an unlawful discrimination violative of her constitutional rights under the equal protection and privileges and immunities clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and the privileges and immunities clause of Art. IV, § 2. Plaintiff contends that Connecticut discriminates against her in favor of three classes of persons: newly-arrived residents with employment, newly-arrived residents with a stake and residents of one year's duration.

At the outset, it will be helpful to highlight what is at issue here by excluding what is not. Plaintiff does not argue that Connecticut cannot deny ADC to non-residents. Since plaintiff is a citizen of Connecticut, her reliance on the privileges and immunities clause of Art. IV, § 2 is misplaced; that clause only outlaws discrimination by one state against citizens of another state. People of State of New York v. O'Neill, 359 U.S. 1, 6, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959). We have no question of the state's power under the Tenth Amendment to provide for relief to the indigent, whether by state agencies, town agencies or otherwise. Nor is any claim made here of a local, state or federal constitutional duty to provide aid at all, or any kind or amount of aid. What we do have is a claim that a state may not discriminate by arbitrarily classifying those who shall and those who shall not be provided with aid, because such discrimination violates rights guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Plaintiff's argument based on privileges and immunities is premised primarily on the right of interstate travel. That right, so the argument goes, is abridged by Connecticut's practice of denying ADC to those in plaintiff's situation because it chills their mobility. The existence, source and dimensions of the right to travel have been the subject of much constitutional debate. In Edwards v. People of State of California, 314 U.S. 160, 62 S.ct. 164, 86 L.Ed. 119 (1941), the Court struck down a California statute which made it a misdemeanor to bring an indigent nor-resident into the state. The rationale of the majority was that the statute violated the Commerce Clause. Mr. Justice Jackson, concurring, would have held that the statute abridged the state citizenship and privilege and immunities clauses of the Fourteenth

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Amendment. 314 U.S. at 181-186, 62 S.Ct. 164. Mr. Justice Douglas, joined by Justices Black and Murphy, would also have rested on the privileges and immunities clause. 314 U.S. at 177-181, 62 S.Ct. 164. In the passport cases, which deal with the right of foreign travel, the Court relied on Fifth Amendment notions of liberty. Zemel v. Rusk, 381 U.S. 1, 14, 85 S.Ct. 1271, 14 L.Ed.2d 179 (1965); Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500, 505-506, 84 S.Ct. 1659, 12 L.Ed.2d 992 (1964); Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116, 126-127, 78 App.D.C. 1113, 2 L.Ed.2d 1204 (1958). Finally, in United States v. Guest, 383 U.S. 745, 759, 86 S.Ct. 1170, 1179, 16 L.Ed.2d 239 (1966), the Court ruled that...

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