Wheeler v. Montgomery Goldberg v. Kelly, Nos. 14

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRENNAN
Citation397 U.S. 280,25 L.Ed.2d 307,90 S.Ct. 1028
Decision Date23 March 1970
Docket Number62,Nos. 14
PartiesMae WHEELER et al., Appellants, v. John MONTGOMERY, Director of the State Department of Social Welfare, et al. Jack R. GOLDBERG, Commissioner of Social Services of the City of New York, Appellant, v. John KELLY et al

397 U.S. 280
90 S.Ct. 1028
25 L.Ed.2d 307
Mae WHEELER et al., Appellants,

v.

John MONTGOMERY, Director of the State Department of Social Welfare, et al. Jack R. GOLDBERG, Commissioner of Social Services of the City of New York, Appellant, v. John KELLY et al.

Nos. 14, 62.

Supreme Court of the United States

March 23, 1970

Peter E. Sitkin, San Francisco, Cal., for appellants.

Elizabeth Palmer, San Francisco, Cal., for appellees.

Mr. Justice BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a companion case to No. 62, Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 90 S.Ct. 1011, 25 L.Ed.2d 287. It is a class action brought by all recipients

Page 281

of old age benefits who are subject to California welfare termination provisions. A three-judge District Court for the Northern District of California held that the California procedure for pre-termination review in welfare cases satisfies the requirements of the Due Process Clause, 296 F.Supp. 138 (1968), and we noted probable jurisdiction, 394 U.S. 970, 89 S.Ct. 1452, 22 L.Ed.2d 751 (1969). This procedure requires notice to the recipient of the proposed discontinuance or suspension at least three days prior to its effective date, together with reasons for the intended action and a statement of what information or action is required to reestablish eligibility, advice that the recipient may meet his caseworker before his benefits are terminated '(t)o discuss the entire matter informally for purposes of clarification and, where possible, resolution,' and assurance that there will be 'prompt investigation' of the case and restoration of payments 'as soon as there is eligibility' to receive them.* The procedure does not, how-

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ever, afford the recipient an evidentiary hearing at which he may personally appear to offer oral evidence and confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him. In Goldberg v. Kelly, supra, decided today, we held that procedural due process requires such an evidentiary pre-termination hearing before welfare payments may be discontinued or suspended. Accordingly, the judgment of the District Court must be and is reversed on the authority of Goldberg v. Kelly.

Reversed.

Mr. Chief Justice BURGER, with whom Mr. Justice BLACK joins, dissenting.

Although I agree in large part with Mr. Justice BLACK's views in No. 62, Goldberg v. Kelly, ante, p. 1022, there are additional factors I wish to mention in dissent from today's unwise and precipitous constitutional holdings.

The procedures for review of administrative action in the 'welfare' area are in a relatively early stage of development; HEW has already taken the initiative by promulgating regulations requiring that AFDC pay-

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ments be continued until a final decision after a 'fair hearing' is held.1 The net effect would be to provide a hearing prior to a termination of benefits. Indeed, the HEW administrative regulations go far beyond the result reached today since they require that recipients be given the right to appointed counsel,2 a position expressly rejected by the majority. As the majority notes, see ante, at 1014 n. 3, these regulations are scheduled to take effect in July 1970. Against this background I am baffled as to why we should engage in 'legislating' via constitutional fiat when an apparently reasonable result has been accomplished administratively.

That HEW has already adopted such regulations suggests to me that we ought to hold the heavy hand of constitutional adjudication...

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72 practice notes
  • Tedeschi v. Blackwood, Civ. No. H-75-140.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 22, 1976
    ...134, 94 S.Ct. 1633, 40 L.Ed.2d 15 (1974); Richardson v. Wright, 405 U.S. 208, 92 S.Ct. 788, 31 L.Ed.2d 151 (1972); Wheeler v. Montgomery, 397 U.S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1026, 25 L.Ed.2d 307 (1970); Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 90 S.Ct. 1011, 25 L.Ed.2d 287 (1970). See also Hannah v. Larche, 363......
  • Escalera v. New York City Housing Authority, No. 441-444
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • April 29, 1970
    ...to the procedures for terminating welfare benefits considered by the Supreme Court, Goldberg v. Kelly, supra; Wheeler v. Montgomery, 397 U. S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1026, 25 L.Ed.2d 307 (March 23, 1970). See Holloway, supra; Quevedo v. Collins, 414 F.2d 796 (5 Cir. 1969); Lewis v. Housing Authority......
  • States Marine Lines, Inc. v. Shultz, No. 73-2065.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • June 14, 1974
    ...535, 91 S.Ct. 1586, 29 L.Ed.2d 90 (1971); Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 90 S.Ct. 1011, 25 L.Ed. 2d 287 (1970); Wheeler v. Montgomery, 397 U.S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1026, 25 L.Ed.2d 307 (1970); Sniadach v. Family Finance Corporation, 395 U.S. 337, 89 S.Ct. 1820, 23 L.Ed.2d 349 (1969). See also, ......
  • National Welfare Rights Organization v. Finch, No. 23787
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 9, 1970
    ...clause, appellants have characterized their interest as a legally protected one. The Supreme Court's decisions in Wheeler v. Montgomery, 397 U.S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1026, 25 L.Ed.2d 307 (1970), and Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 90 S.Ct. 1011, 25 L.Ed.2d 287 (1970), confirm the substantiality ......
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71 cases
  • Tedeschi v. Blackwood, Civ. No. H-75-140.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 22, 1976
    ...134, 94 S.Ct. 1633, 40 L.Ed.2d 15 (1974); Richardson v. Wright, 405 U.S. 208, 92 S.Ct. 788, 31 L.Ed.2d 151 (1972); Wheeler v. Montgomery, 397 U.S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1026, 25 L.Ed.2d 307 (1970); Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 90 S.Ct. 1011, 25 L.Ed.2d 287 (1970). See also Hannah v. Larche, 363......
  • Escalera v. New York City Housing Authority, No. 441-444
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • April 29, 1970
    ...to the procedures for terminating welfare benefits considered by the Supreme Court, Goldberg v. Kelly, supra; Wheeler v. Montgomery, 397 U. S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1026, 25 L.Ed.2d 307 (March 23, 1970). See Holloway, supra; Quevedo v. Collins, 414 F.2d 796 (5 Cir. 1969); Lewis v. Housing Authority......
  • States Marine Lines, Inc. v. Shultz, No. 73-2065.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • June 14, 1974
    ...535, 91 S.Ct. 1586, 29 L.Ed.2d 90 (1971); Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 90 S.Ct. 1011, 25 L.Ed. 2d 287 (1970); Wheeler v. Montgomery, 397 U.S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1026, 25 L.Ed.2d 307 (1970); Sniadach v. Family Finance Corporation, 395 U.S. 337, 89 S.Ct. 1820, 23 L.Ed.2d 349 (1969). See also, ......
  • National Welfare Rights Organization v. Finch, No. 23787
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 9, 1970
    ...clause, appellants have characterized their interest as a legally protected one. The Supreme Court's decisions in Wheeler v. Montgomery, 397 U.S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1026, 25 L.Ed.2d 307 (1970), and Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 90 S.Ct. 1011, 25 L.Ed.2d 287 (1970), confirm the substantiality ......
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1 books & journal articles
  • The Supreme Court of the United States, 1969-1970
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 23-4, December 1970
    • December 1, 1970
    ...the majority as to what would be a fair and humane procedure in this case.&dquo; (P. 276.) . In a companion case, Wheeler v. Montgomery (397 U.S. 280; 90 S. Ct. 1026), the Court applied the same rule to California’s welfare termination provisions. 856 Juvenile due process has been a concern......

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