07-12-03, Cases - Shapiro v. Thompson (1969) Facts of the...

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Shapiro v. Thompson (1969) Facts of the Case Thompson was a pregnant, nineteen-year-old mother of one child who applied for assistance under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in Connecticut after having recently moved there from Massachusetts. Connecticut denied her aid since she did not satisfy the state's one-year residency requirement. This case was decided together with Washington v. Legrant and Reynolds v. Smith. In Washington, three people applied for and were denied AFDC aid on the ground that they had not resided in the District of Columbia for one year immediately preceding the filing of their application In Reynolds, two appellees, Smith and Foster, were denied AFDC aid on the sole ground that they had not been residents of Pennsylvania for at least a year prior to their applications as required by a Pennsylvania Welfare Code. Question Does the conditioning of AFDC aid on various residency requirements violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause? Conclusion Yes. The Court held that since the regulation touched "on the fundamental right of interstate movement," it must promote a compelling state interest. Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC, all failed to advance any compelling administrative or social reasons for their requirements. The goal of simply preventing indigents from moving to these states was constitutionally impermissible, argued Justice Brennan, given the value the United States has historically placed on the freedom to travel. San Antonio Independent School Dis. v. Rodriguez (1973) Facts of the Case In addition to being funded through a state-funded program designed to establish a minimum educational threshold in every school, Texas public elementary and secondary schools rely on local property taxes for supplemental revenue. The San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), acting on behalf of students whose families reside in poor districts, challenged this funding scheme by arguing that it underprivileged such students because their schools lacked the vast property tax base that other districts utilized. The reliance on assessable property, SAISD claimed, caused severe inter-district disparities in per-pupil expenditures. Question Did Texas' public education finance system violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause by failing to distribute funding equally among its school districts? Conclusion No. The Court refused to examine the system with strict scrutiny since there is no fundamental right to education in the Constitution and since the system did not systematically discriminate against all poor people in Texas. Given the similarities between Texas' system and those in other states, it was clear to the Court that the funding scheme was not
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07-12-03, Cases - Shapiro v. Thompson (1969) Facts of the...

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