Shapiro v. Thompson Washington v. Legrant Reynolds v. Smith 34, Nos. 9

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRENNAN
Citation22 L.Ed.2d 600,394 U.S. 618,89 S.Ct. 1322
PartiesBernard SHAPIRO, Commissioner of Welfare of the State of Connecticut, Appellant, v. Vivian THOMPSON. Walter E. WASHINGTON et al., Appellants, v. Clay Mae LEGRANT et al. Roger A. REYNOLDS et al., Appellants, v. Juanita SMITH et al. , and 34. Re
Docket NumberNos. 9,33
Decision Date21 April 1969

394 U.S. 618
89 S.Ct. 1322
22 L.Ed.2d 600
Bernard SHAPIRO, Commissioner of Welfare of the State of Connecticut, Appellant,

v.

Vivian THOMPSON. Walter E. WASHINGTON et al., Appellants, v. Clay Mae LEGRANT et al. Roger A. REYNOLDS et al., Appellants, v. Juanita SMITH et al.

Nos. 9, 33, and 34.
Reargued Oct. 23 and 24, 1968.
Decided April 21, 1969.

[Syllabus from pages 618-620 intentionally omitted]

Page 620

Francis J. MacGregor, Fairfield, Conn., Richard W. Barton, Washington, D.C., and William C. Sennett, Harrisburg, Pa., for appellants.

Archibald Cox, Washington, D.C., for appellees.

Lorna L. Williams, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Des Moines, Iowa, for State or Iowa, as amicus curiae.

[The balance of this page intentionally left blank]

Page 621

Mr. Justice BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

These three appeals were restored to the calendar for reargument. 392 U.S. 920, 88 S.Ct. 2272, 20 L.Ed.2d 1381 (1968). Each is an appeal from a decision of a three-judge District Court holding

Page 622

unconstitutional a State or District of Columbia statutory provision which denies welfare assistance to residents of the State or District who have not resided within their jurisdictions for at least one year immediately preceding their applications for such assistance. 1 We affirm the judgments of the District Courts in the three cases.

I.

In No. 9, the Connecticut Welfare Department invoked § 17—2d of the Connecticut General Statutes2 to

Page 623

deny the application of appellee Vivian Marie Thompson for assistance under the program for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). She was a 19-year-old unwed mother of one child and pregnant with her second child when she changed her residence in June 1966 from Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Hartford, Connecticut, to live with her mother, a Hartford resident. She moved to her own apartment in Hartford in August 1966, when her mother was no longer able to support her and her infant son. Because of her pregnancy, she was unable to work or enter a work training program. Her application for AFDC assistance, filed in August, was denied in November solely on the ground that, as required by § 17—2d, she had not lived in the State for a year before her application was filed. She brought this action in the District Court for the District of Connecticut where a three-judge court, one judge dissenting, declared § 17—2d unconstitutional. 270 F.Supp. 331 (1967). The majority held that the waiting-period requirement is unconstitutional because it 'has a chilling effect on the right to travel.' Id., at 336. The majority also held that the provision was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the denial of relief to those resident in the State for less than a year is not based on any permissible purpose but is solely designed as 'Connecticut states quite frankly,' 'to protect its fisc by discouraging entry of those who come needing relief.' Id., at 336—337. We noted probable jurisdiction. 389 U.S. 1032, 88 S.Ct. 784, 19 L.Ed.2d 820 (1968).

In No. 33, there are four appellees. Three of them—appellees Harrell, Brown, and Legrant—applied for and were denied AFDC aid. The fourth, appellee Barley, applied for and was denied benefits under the program for Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled. The denial in each case was on the ground that the applicant had not resided in the District of Columbia for one year

Page 624

immediately preceding the filing of her application, as required by § 3—203 of the District of Columbia Code.3

Appellee Minnie Harrell, now deceased, had moved with her three children from New York to Washington in September 1966. She suffered from cancer and moved to be near members of her family who lived in Washington.

Appellee Barley, a former resident of the District of Columbia, returned to the District in March 1941 and was committed a month later to St. Elizabeths Hospital as mentally ill. She has remained in that hospital ever since. She was deemed eligible for release in 1965, and a plan was made to transfer her from the hospital to a foster home. The plan depended, however, upon Mrs. Barley's obtaining welfare assistance for her support. Her application for assistance under the program for Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled was denied because her time spent in the hospital did not count in determining compliance with the one-year requirement.

Appellee Brown lived with her mother and two of her three children in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Her third child was living with appellee Brown's father in the District of Columbia. When her mother moved from Fort Smith of Oklahoma, appellee Brown, in February 1966, returned to the District of Columbia where she lived as a child. Her application for AFDC assistance was approved insofar as it sought assistance for the child who

Page 625

had lived in the District with her father but was denied to the extent it sought assistance for the two other children.

Appellee Legrant moved with her two children from South Carolina to the District of Columbia in March 1967 after the death of her mother. She planned to live with a sister and brother in Washington. She was pregnant and in ill health when she applied for and was denied AFDC assistance in July 1967.

The several cases were consolidated for trial, and a three-judge District Court was convened.4 The court, one judge dissenting, held § 3—203 unconstitutional. 279 F.Supp. 22 (1967). The majority rested its decision on the ground that the one-year requirement was unconstitutional as a denial of the right to equal protection secured by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. We noted probable jurisdiction. Washington v. Harrell, 390 U.S. 940, 88 S.Ct. 1053, 19 L.Ed.2d 1129 (1968).

In No. 34, there are two appellees, Smith and Foster, who were denied AFDC aid on the sole ground that they had not been residents of Pennsylvania for a year prior to their applications as required by § 432(6) of the Pennsyl-

Page 626

vania Welfare Code. 5Appellee Smith and her five minor children moved in December 1966 from Delaware to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where her father lived. Her father supported her and her children for several months until he lost his job. Appellee then applied for AFDC assistance and had received two checks when the aid was terminated. Appellee Foster, after living in Pennsylvania from 1953 to 1965, had moved with her four children to South Carolina to care for h r grandfather and invalid grandmother and had returned to Pennsylvania in 1967. A three-judge District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, one judge dissenting, declared § 432(6) unconstitutional. 277 F.Supp. 65 (1967). The majority held that the classification established by the waiting-period requirement is 'without rational basis and without legitimate purpose or function' and therefore a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Id., at 67. The majority noted further that if the purpose of the statute was 'to erect a barrier against the movement of indigent persons into the State or to

Page 627

effect their prompt departure after they have gotten there,' it would be 'patently improper and its implementation plainly impermissible.' Id., at 67—68. We noted probable jurisdiction. 390 U.S. 940, 88 S.Ct. 1054, 19 L.Ed.2d 1129 (1968).

II.

There is no dispute that the effect of the waiting-period requirement in each case is to create two classes of needy resident families indistinguishable from each other except that one is composed of residents who have resided a year or more, and the second of residents who have resided less than a year, in the jurisdiction. On the basis of this sole difference the first class is granted and the second class is denied welfare aid upon which may depend the ability of the families to obtain the very means to subsist—food, shelter, and other necessities of life. In each case, the District Court found that appellees met the test for residence in their jurisdictions, as well as all other eligibility requirements except the requirement of residence for a full year prior to their applications. On reargument, appellees' central contention is that the statutory prohibition of benefits to residents of less than a year creates a classification which constitutes an invidious discrimination denying them equal protection of the laws.6 We agree. The interests which appellants assert are promoted by the classification either may not constitutionally be promoted by government or are not compelling governmental interests.

III.

Primarily, appellants justify the waiting-period requirement as a protective device to preserve the fiscal integrity of state public assistance programs. It is asserted that people who require welfare assistance during their first

Page 628

year of residence in a State are likely to become continuing burdens on state welfare programs. Therefore, the argument runs, if such people can be deterred from entering the jurisdiction by denying them welfare benefits during the first year, state programs to assist long-time residents will not be impaired by a ubstantial influx of indigent newcomers.7

There is weighty evidence that exclusion from the jurisdiction of the poor who need or may need relief was the specific objective of these provisions. In the Congress, sponsors of federal legislation to eliminate all residence requirements have been consistently opposed by representatives of state and local welfare agencies who have stressed the fears of the States that elimination of the requirements would result in a heavy influx of individuals into States providing the most generous benefits. See, e.g., Hearings on H.R. 10032 before the House Committee on Ways and Means, 87th Cong., 2d Sess., 309—310, 644 (1962); Hearings on H.R. 6000 before the Senate Committee on Finance, 81st Cong.,

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2d Sess., 324—327 (1950). The sponsor of the...

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2352 practice notes
  • Bednasek v. Kobach, Case No. 15–9300–JAR–JPO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • May 4, 2017
    ...Id. at 507, 119 S.Ct. 1518.90 405 U.S. 330, 92 S.Ct. 995, 31 L.Ed.2d 274 (1972).91 Id. at 342, 92 S.Ct. 995 (quoting Shapiro v. Thompson , 394 U.S. 618, 634, 89 S.Ct. 1322, 22 L.Ed.2d 600 (1969) ).92 Id. at 341, 92 S.Ct. 995.93 Id. at 344–61, 92 S.Ct. 995.94 Id. at 343, 92 S.Ct. 995 (quotin......
  • MR. X v. McCorkle, Civ. A. No. 1242-69
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • July 6, 1970
    ...plaintiff's argument that this provision violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 13 In Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S.Ct. 1354, 22 L.Ed.2d 572 (1969), the Supreme Court struck down state regulations which denied welfare assistance to residents of the state......
  • Zobel v. Williams, No. 80-1146
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1982
    ...415 U.S. 250, 94 S.Ct. 1076, 39 L.Ed.2d 306; Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 92 S.Ct. 995, 31 L.Ed.2d 274; and Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S.Ct. 1322, 22 L.Ed.2d 600, distinguished. When a state distributes benefits unequally, the distinctions it makes are subject to scrutiny und......
  • Rosado v. Wyman, No. 711
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • July 16, 1969
    ...effect of section 602(a) (23) was not involved in that case. Moreover, I do not believe that either King v. Smith or Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S.Ct. 1322, 22 L.Ed.2d 600 (1969), which deals with residency requirements, would have been decided differently even if it had been assu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2337 cases
  • Bednasek v. Kobach, Case No. 15–9300–JAR–JPO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • May 4, 2017
    ...Id. at 507, 119 S.Ct. 1518.90 405 U.S. 330, 92 S.Ct. 995, 31 L.Ed.2d 274 (1972).91 Id. at 342, 92 S.Ct. 995 (quoting Shapiro v. Thompson , 394 U.S. 618, 634, 89 S.Ct. 1322, 22 L.Ed.2d 600 (1969) ).92 Id. at 341, 92 S.Ct. 995.93 Id. at 344–61, 92 S.Ct. 995.94 Id. at 343, 92 S.Ct. 995 (quotin......
  • MR. X v. McCorkle, Civ. A. No. 1242-69
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • July 6, 1970
    ...plaintiff's argument that this provision violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 13 In Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S.Ct. 1354, 22 L.Ed.2d 572 (1969), the Supreme Court struck down state regulations which denied welfare assistance to residents of the state......
  • Zobel v. Williams, No. 80-1146
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1982
    ...415 U.S. 250, 94 S.Ct. 1076, 39 L.Ed.2d 306; Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 92 S.Ct. 995, 31 L.Ed.2d 274; and Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S.Ct. 1322, 22 L.Ed.2d 600, distinguished. When a state distributes benefits unequally, the distinctions it makes are subject to scrutiny und......
  • Rosado v. Wyman, No. 711
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • July 16, 1969
    ...effect of section 602(a) (23) was not involved in that case. Moreover, I do not believe that either King v. Smith or Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S.Ct. 1322, 22 L.Ed.2d 600 (1969), which deals with residency requirements, would have been decided differently even if it had been assu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • Schoolhouse Property.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 5, March 2022
    • March 1, 2022
    ...cannot be answered by an argument that public assistance benefits are 'a "privilege" and not a "right."'" (quoting Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 627 n.6 (62.) See Simon, supra note 55, at 149. (63.) Id. (64.) See MICHAEL B. KATZ, IN THE SHADOW OH THE POORHOUSE: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF WELF......
  • Justice Antonin Scalia, Constitutional Discourse, and the Legalistic State
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 44-4, December 1991
    • December 1, 1991
    ...Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973).Sanchez-Espinosa v. Reagan, 770 F.2d 202 (D.C. Cir. 1985).Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969).Shaw v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 749 F.2d 58 (D.C. Cir. 1984).Simmons v. Interstate Commerce Commission, 716 F.2d 40 (D.C. C......
  • ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF HARD STATE BORDER CLOSURES IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
    • United States
    • Journal of Law and Health Vol. 35 Nbr. 1, September 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    ...(80) 357 U.S. 116 (1958). (81) Id. at 125. (82) 378 U.S. 500 (1964). (83) Id. at 505. (84) 383 U.S. 745 (1965). (85) d. at 769-70. (86) 394 U.S. 618 (1969), overruled in part on other grounds by Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 671 (1974). See also, Att'y Gen. of N.Y. v. Soto-Lopez 476 U.S.......
  • The Supreme Court's New Constitutional Federalism: Implications for Public Administration
    • United States
    • Public Administration Review Nbr. 61-3, May 2001
    • May 1, 2001
    ...it doesnot permit degrees of citizenship based on length of resi-dence (119 S.Ct. 1528 [1999]).Previously, in Shapiro v. Thompson (394 U.S. 618), theCourt had assessed laws denying welfare benefits altogetherto newly arrived residents, and it held that a state cannotenact durational residen......

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