State v. U.S. Dep't of State, No. 18-5478

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBOGGS, Circuit Judge.
Parties STATE of Tennessee, BY AND THROUGH the TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 18-5478
Decision Date24 July 2019

931 F.3d 499

STATE of Tennessee, BY AND THROUGH the TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 18-5478

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

Argued: March 19, 2019
Decided and Filed: July 24, 2019
Rehearing En Banc Denied October 16, 2019


ARGUED: John J. Bursch, BURSCH LAW PLLC, Caledonia, Michigan, for Appellants. Samantha L. Chaifetz, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellees. ON BRIEF: Richard Thompson, B. Tyler Brooks, Kate Oliveri, THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER, Ann Arbor, Michigan, for Appellants. Samantha L. Chaifetz, Alisa B. Klein, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellees. Sarah Grusin, NATIONAL HEALTH LAW PROGRAM, Carrboro, North Carolina, Cody Wofsy, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION FOUNDATION IMMIGRANTS’ RIGHTS PROJECT, San Francisco, California, for Amici Curiae.

Before: COLE, Chief Judge; and BOGGS, Circuit Judge.*

BOGGS, Circuit Judge.

This case presents the question of whether the Tennessee General Assembly ("General Assembly") has standing to file suit on its own behalf, as well as on behalf of the State of Tennessee. The General Assembly alleged that the federal government violated the Spending Clause and the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution through enacting and implementing certain statutes that require states to provide Medicaid coverage to eligible refugees. The district court dismissed the General Assembly’s complaint for lack

931 F.3d 502

of standing. Tennessee v. U.S. Dep’t of State , 329 F. Supp. 3d 597, 616–17 (W.D. Tenn. 2018). Because the General Assembly has not alleged an injury that gives it standing, and because the General Assembly has not established that it has the authority to bring suit on behalf of Tennessee, we affirm the district court’s judgment.

STATUTORY BACKGROUND

Before turning to the parties’ arguments, we briefly discuss the statutory schemes that are relevant to this case. In 1980, Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act by passing the Refugee Act, Pub. L. No. 96-121, 94 Stat. 102 (1980) (codified in scattered sections of 8 U.S.C.). The Refugee Act created the Office of Refugee Resettlement ("ORR") within the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS").1 8 U.S.C. § 1521(a). ORR administers the Refugee Resettlement Program. See id. (b). ORR consults with state and local governments and private nonprofit agencies concerning "the sponsorship process and the intended distribution among the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities." 8 U.S.C. § 1522(a)(2)(A). The parties do not dispute that states cannot prevent the federal government from settling refugees within their borders. See Tennessee , 329 F. Supp. 3d at 607 (citing H.R. Rep. No. 132, at 19 (1985)); see also Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. v. Pence , 838 F.3d 902, 904 (7th Cir. 2016).

The Refugee Resettlement Program assists refugees in achieving economic self-sufficiency in the United States through federal grants to provide employment training, English-language education, and other skill development. 8 U.S.C. § 1522(a)(1)(A) ; Exodus Refugee Immigration , 838 F.3d at 903 ; 45 C.F.R. § 400.11. States may choose to administer this program. To participate, a state must submit a proposal for ORR’s approval, describing how the state will "coordinate cash and medical assistance and other services to promote refugee resettlement and economic self-sufficiency." Tennessee , 329 F. Supp. 3d at 607 ; 8 U.S.C. § 1522(a)(6)(A)–(C) ; 45 C.F.R. § 400.4. If a state chooses not to participate, or withdraws from participation, then the state does not receive or administer the grant funding. 45 C.F.R. § 400.301. ORR may then "authorize a replacement designee or designees to administer the provision of assistance and services, as appropriate, to refugees in that State." Id. (c); see also 8 U.S.C. § 1152(c)(1)(A), (e)(1) ; Exodus Refugee Immigration , 838 F.3d at 905 ; 60 Fed. Reg. 33584, 33588 (June 28, 1995). ORR funds thirteen such programs in twelve states. Tennessee , 329 F. Supp. 3d at 608.

The Refugee Act authorizes, but does not require, ORR to reimburse states, subject to available appropriations, "for 100 per centum of the cash assistance and medical assistance provided to any refugee" during the first three years of the refugee’s residence in the United States. 8 U.S.C. § 1522(e)(1) ; see also Tennessee , 329 F. Supp. 3d at 607. "[B]y the early 1990s, ORR no longer reimbursed the states for the full cost of providing cash and medical assistance to refugees due to an insufficiency of funds appropriated for that purpose." Tennessee , 329 F. Supp. 3d at 607. ORR amended the program regulations in light of the "steady decline in Federal refugee funding for the State share of ...

931 F.3d 503

Medicaid ... due to insufficient appropriated funds." 60 Fed. Reg. 33584, 33588 (June 28, 1995).

Medicaid is a "cooperative federal-state public assistance program that makes federal funds available to states electing to furnish medical services to certain impoverished individuals." Mowbray v. Kozlowski , 914 F.2d 593, 595 (4th Cir. 1990). Medicaid assists states in providing medical care to "pregnant women, children, needy families, the blind, the elderly, and the disabled ...." Nat’l Fed’n of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius (NFIB ), 567 U.S. 519, 541, 132 S.Ct. 2566, 183 L.Ed.2d 450 (2012). Participation in Medicaid is voluntary, but to receive federal funding, states must have an approved state Medicaid plan satisfying federal criteria that establish who is eligible for care, the services provided, and the cost of services. Id. at 541–42, 132 S.Ct. 2566 ; see also 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(10) ; 42 C.F.R. § 430.10. Tennessee has participated in Medicaid since 1968. Tennessee , 329 F. Supp. 3d at 605.

A state must submit its Medicaid plan, or any proposed amendments, to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") for approval. 42 C.F.R. § 430.12. Once the plan is approved, the state receives reimbursement from the federal government for a percentage of the costs of providing care to eligible individuals: the "Federal Medical Assistance Percentage" ("FMAP"). West Virginia v. U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs. , 289 F.3d 281, 284 (4th Cir. 2002) ; see also 42 U.S.C. § 1396d(b). If a state plan is not in compliance with the Medicaid Act’s requirements, "after reasonable notice and opportunity for hearing," HHS may withhold the state’s FMAP or limit the FMAP to the parts of the state plan that are not affected by noncompliance. 42 U.S.C. § 1396c. The Medicaid Act provides for a system of administrative and judicial review for HHS’s decisions concerning state plans and a determination to reduce or withhold a state’s FMAP.2 See 42 U.S.C. § 1316. Medicaid spending accounts for a substantial portion of the average state’s budget, and the FMAP covers "50 to 83 percent of those costs." NFIB , 567 U.S. at 581, 132 S.Ct. 2566. In recent years, Tennessee’s annual FMAP has ranged from four to seven billion dollars, which represents 17 to 21% of the state’s total budget for all purposes.

The original Medicaid Act "was ... silent on the availability of Medicaid to aliens." Lewis v. Thompson , 252 F.3d 567, 571 (2d Cir. 2001). In 1971, the Supreme Court held in Graham v. Richardson , 403 U.S. 365, 376, 91 S.Ct. 1848, 29 L.Ed.2d 534 (1971), that states violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by denying public assistance

931 F.3d 504

to noncitizens on that basis, or because the noncitizen had not resided in the United States for a certain number of years. Following Graham , HHS proposed a rule to implement the decision that was also consistent with recent amendments to the Social Security Act that denied Social Security benefits to noncitizens. See 38 Fed. Reg. 16910, 16910–11 (June 27, 1973) ; see also Lewis , 252 F.3d at 571. The rule, codified at the time at 45 C.F.R. § 248.50 (1974), required states that participated in Medicaid to provide benefits to eligible noncitizens "lawfully admitted for permanent residence or otherwise permanently residing in the United States under color of law[.]" 38 Fed. Reg. 30259, 30259 (Nov. 2, 1973). A noncitizen’s eligibility for Medicaid depended on whether the noncitizen fit the criteria for coverage in the Medicaid Act.

In 1996, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, Pub. L. No. 104-193, 110 Stat. 2015 (1996). The Act restricts the availability of public benefits for noncitizens to promote self-sufficiency as part of the United States’ national immigration policy. See 8 U.S.C. § 1601(5) – (6). To that end, the Act provided that "an alien who is not a qualified alien ... is not eligible for any Federal public benefit[.]" 8 U.S.C. § 1611(a) ; see also Bruns v. Mayhew , 750 F.3d 61, 63–64 (1st Cir. 2014). "Qualified alien" is defined at 8 U.S.C. § 1641(b) – (c), and includes, inter alia , "a refugee who is admitted to the United States under section 207 of [the Immigration and Nationality] Act." Id. (b)(3). Most qualified aliens are subject to additional restrictions on federal program participation. See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1612(a)(1), 1613(a). Five years after entry into the...

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  • Daunt v. Benson, Case No. 1:19-cv-614 (Lead)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • November 25, 2019
    ...that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision." State by & through Tennessee Gen. Assembly v. United States Dep't of State , 931 F.3d 499, 507 (6th Cir. 2019) (quoting Lujan , 504 U.S. at 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130 ). See also Hearring v. Sliwowski , 806 F.3d 864, 868 (6th Cir. 2015) (......
  • House of Representatives & Senate v. Governor, No. 353655
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    ...576 U.S. 787, 803, 135 S. Ct. 2652, 192 L. Ed.2d. 704 (2015) ; Tennessee ex rel. Tennessee Gen. Assembly v. United States Dep't of State , 931 F.3d 499, 509 (C.A. 6, 2019), and thus also would have satisfied the more restrictive Article III definition of standing, as the Court of Claims als......
  • U.S. House of Representatives v. Mnuchin, No. 19-5176
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • September 25, 2020
    ...body's specific powers," House Br. at 20 (alteration in original) (quoting Tenn. ex rel. Tenn. Gen. Assembly v. U.S. Dep't of State , 931 F.3d 499, 511 (6th Cir. 2019) ), and (2) "there 976 F.3d 7 must be a match ‘between the body seeking to litigate and the body to which the relevant const......
  • R.K. v. Lee, 3:21-cv-00725
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • October 22, 2021
    ...of litigants empowered to maintain a lawsuit in federal court to seek redress for a legal wrong.’ " Tenn. v. United States Dep't of State, 931 F.3d 499, 507 (6th Cir. 2019) (quoting Spokeo, 136 S. Ct. at 1547 ). To establish standing, a plaintiff must show: "(1) it has suffered an ‘injury i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • House of Representatives & Senate v. Governor, No. 353655
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • August 21, 2020
    ...576 U.S. 787, 803, 135 S. Ct. 2652, 192 L. Ed.2d. 704 (2015) ; Tennessee ex rel. Tennessee Gen. Assembly v. United States Dep't of State , 931 F.3d 499, 509 (C.A. 6, 2019), and thus also would have satisfied the more restrictive Article III definition of standing, as the Court of Claims als......
  • Daunt v. Benson, Case No. 1:19-cv-614 (Lead)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • November 25, 2019
    ...that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision." State by & through Tennessee Gen. Assembly v. United States Dep't of State , 931 F.3d 499, 507 (6th Cir. 2019) (quoting Lujan , 504 U.S. at 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130 ). See also Hearring v. Sliwowski , 806 F.3d 864, 868 (6th Cir. 2015) (......
  • U.S. House of Representatives v. Mnuchin, No. 19-5176
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • September 25, 2020
    ...body's specific powers," House Br. at 20 (alteration in original) (quoting Tenn. ex rel. Tenn. Gen. Assembly v. U.S. Dep't of State , 931 F.3d 499, 511 (6th Cir. 2019) ), and (2) "there 976 F.3d 7 must be a match ‘between the body seeking to litigate and the body to which the relevant const......
  • R.K. v. Lee, 3:21-cv-00725
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • October 22, 2021
    ...of litigants empowered to maintain a lawsuit in federal court to seek redress for a legal wrong.’ " Tenn. v. United States Dep't of State, 931 F.3d 499, 507 (6th Cir. 2019) (quoting Spokeo, 136 S. Ct. at 1547 ). To establish standing, a plaintiff must show: "(1) it has suffered an ‘injury i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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