448 U.S. 358 (1980), 79-4, Williams v. Zbaraz

Docket Nº:No. 79-4
Citation:448 U.S. 358, 100 S.Ct. 2694, 65 L.Ed.2d 831
Party Name:Williams v. Zbaraz
Case Date:June 30, 1980
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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448 U.S. 358 (1980)

100 S.Ct. 2694, 65 L.Ed.2d 831

Williams

v.

Zbaraz

No. 79-4

United States Supreme Court

June 30, 1980

Argued April 21, 1980

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS

Syllabus

Appellees brought a class action in Federal District Court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to enjoin, on both federal statutory and constitutional grounds, enforcement of an Illinois statute prohibiting [100 S.Ct. 2695] state medical assistance payments for all abortions except those necessary to [100 S.Ct. 2696] save the life of the woman seeking the abortion. The District Court, granting injunctive relief, held that Title XIX of the Social Security Act, which established the Medicaid program, and the regulations promulgated thereunder require a participating State under such program to provide funding for all medically necessary abortions, and that the so-called Hyde Amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds to reimburse the costs of certain medically necessary abortions does not relieve a State of its independent obligation under Title XIX to provide Medicaid funding for all medically necessary abortions. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Hyde Amendment altered Title XIX in such a way as to allow States to limit funding to the categories of abortions specified in that Amendment, but that a participating State may not, consistent with Title XIX, withhold funding of those medically necessary abortions for which federal reimbursement is available under the Hyde Amendment, and the case was remanded to the District Court for modification of its injunction and with directions to consider the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment. The District Court then held that both the Illinois statute and the Hyde Amendment violate the equal protection guarantee of the Constitution insofar as they deny funding for "medically necessary abortions prior to the point of fetal viability."

Held:

1. The District Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment, for the court acted in the absence of a case or controversy sufficient to permit an exercise of judicial power under Art. III of the Constitution. None of the parties ever challenged the validity of the Hyde Amendment, and appellees could have been awarded all the relief sought entirely on the basis of the District Court's

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ruling as to the Illinois statute. The constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment was interjected as an issue only by the Court of Appeals' erroneous mandate, which could not create a case or controversy where none otherwise existed. P. 367.

2. Notwithstanding that the District Court had no jurisdiction to declare the Hyde Amendment unconstitutional, this Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1252 over the "whole case," and thus may review the other issues preserved by these appeals. McLucas v. DeChamplain, 421 U.S. 21. Pp. 367-368.

3. A participating State is not obligated under Title XIX to pay for those medically necessary abortions for which federal reimbursement is unavailable under the Hyde Amendment. Harris v. McRae, ante at 306-311. P. 369.

4. The funding restrictions in the Illinois statute, comparable to those in the Hyde Amendment, do not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Harris v. McRae, ante at 324-326. P. 369.

469 F.Supp. 1212, vacated and remanded.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which MARSHALL and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined, ante p. 329. MARSHALL, J., ante p. 337, BLACKMUN, J., ante p. 348, and STEVENS, J., ante p. 349, filed dissenting opinions.

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STEWART, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

This suit was brought as a class action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to enjoin the enforcement of an Illinois statute that prohibits state medical assistance payments for all abortions except those "necessary for the preservation of the life of the [100 S.Ct. 2697] woman seeking such treatment."1 The plaintiffs were

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two physicians who perform medically necessary abortions for indigent women, a welfare rights organization, and Jane Doe, an indigent pregnant woman who alleged that she desired an abortion that was medically necessary, but not necessary to save her life. The defendant was the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid, the agency charged with administering the State's medical assistance programs.2 Two other physicians intervened as defendants.

The plaintiffs challenged the Illinois statute on both federal statutory and constitutional grounds. They asserted, first, that Title XIX of the Social Security Act, commonly known as the "Medicaid" Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq. (1976 ed. and Supp. II), requires Illinois to provide coverage in its Medicaid plan for all medically necessary abortions, whether or not the life of the pregnant woman is endangered. Second, the plaintiffs argued that the public funding by the State of medically necessary services generally, but not of certain medically necessary abortions, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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The District Court initially held that it would abstain from considering the complaint until the state courts had construed the challenged statute.3 The plaintiffs appealed, and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed. Zbaraz v. Quern, 572 F.2d 582. The appellate court held that abstention was inappropriate under the circumstances, and remanded the case for further proceedings, including consideration of the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. On remand, the District Court certified two plaintiff classes -- (1) a class of all pregnant women eligible for the Illinois medical assistance programs who desire medically necessary, but not life-preserving, abortions, and (2) a class of all Illinois physicians who perform medically necessary abortions for indigent women and who are certified to obtain reimbursement under the Illinois medical assistance programs. Addressing the merits of the complaint, the District Court concluded that Title XIX and the regulations promulgated thereunder require a participating State under the Medicaid program to provide funding for all medically necessary abortions. According to the District Court, the so-called "Hyde Amendment" -- under which Congress has prohibited the use of federal funds to reimburse the costs of certain medically necessary abortions4 -- does not...

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