Saenz v. Roe

From Wiki Law School does not provide legal advice. For educational purposes only.
Saenz v. Roe
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided May 17, 1999


In the 1990s, California had the most generous welfare benefits in the United States.

Citizens had to meet a 1-year residency requirement to receive the level of benefits which California was doling out.

Procedural History

Sáenz, Director of the California Department of Social Services, loses at the federal district court in California.


Should SCOTUS apply the strict scrutiny standard of review in this case?


Rehnquist & Thomas dissented.

Rehnquist argued that the "right to travel" doesn't mean the right to receive state benefits.


The state statute of California imposing a durational residency requirement to limit welfare benefits goes against the "privileges or immunities" in the 14th Amendment, Section 1, Clause 2.


The right to travel among states is a fundamental right of US citizens.


SCOTUS hasn't struck down other in-state benefits such as in-state tuition at public universities.

The "privileges or immunities" in the 14th Amendment, Section 1, Clause 2 is somewhat nuanced based on how SCOTUS members feel at a time.