divide the entire group of needy and eligible Illinois residents
into two classes: Aid is denied (except for temporary emergency
general assistance) to the class, which includes plaintiffs, who
have resided in the state less than one year immediately past.
Aid is granted to those who have resided continuously within
Illinois for the past year.
The ultimate question is whether the classification is
reasonable in the light of some proper legislative purpose. If
not, the provision denies equal protection of the laws.
The question has recently been decided adversely to defendants
in several other districts.*fn10 A portion of the opinion in
Ramos, supra, is attached as an appendix to this opinion, and the
views expressed therein are adopted for the purpose of this
Defendants contend that the provision for temporary general
assistance in hardship cases sufficiently blunts the
discriminatory effect of the otherwise applicable one year
residence requirement to defeat plaintiffs' claim. Defendants
have not produced evidence as to the degree to which the
provision alleviates the situation of needy recent arrivals, and
for the purpose of this motion we find that it is not readily
made available on any basis to applicants who lack the residence
We conclude that plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary
injunction, enjoining defendants, their successors, and persons
under their control from denying to an applicant aid to the aged,
blind or disabled, aid to dependent children, or general
assistance where such denial is based upon lack of fulfillment of
the one year residency requirements of the Illinois Public
Welfare Code. Counsel for plaintiffs are directed to prepare and
submit to defense counsel and the court a suitable form of
Under Rule 23*fn11 we hereby determine that this is a properly
maintained class action. The class is made up of all those
residents of Illinois who need welfare aid or general assistance
in the state and who have failed to reside therein for one year
immediately past. Under the circumstances the best practicable
notice to members of the class represented by plaintiffs is the
coverage by the news media which will result from the filing of
this decision. The members of the class are hereby notified that
the court will exclude anyone from the class if he so requests
within 30 days of the filing date; the judgment will include all
members who do not request exclusion and any member not
requesting exclusion may, if he desires, enter an appearance
We emphasize that what has been said in this opinion is based
on the pleadings and affidavits and the submission by the parties
of legal issues upon a motion for preliminary injunction, and the
decision at this time is limited to the granting of such
injunction. In the nature of a case where the main or sole issues
are of law, the decision on preliminary injunction tends to be
the decision on the merits. We do not, however, foreclose a trial
if any party considers there are issues of fact or further
briefing and argument on the law if desired. We direct each party
to inform the court within 30 days from the date the opinion is
filed whether he wishes a trial in order to establish facts, or
a hearing on issues of law. After learning the desires of the
parties, we will determine the course
of further proceedings herein, or proceed to final disposition.
Excerpts from Ramos v. Health and Social Services Board
(E.D.Wis., Nov. 21, 1967), 276 F. Supp. 474, 477-78.
We have considered the purposes which might be thought to be
served by a provision of this sort, whether such purpose is a
proper legislative purpose, and whether the provision is
reasonable in the light of such purpose.
By definition, the one year residence requirement is not a
waiting period required of all applicants. Whatever arguments
might be legitimately made in favor of a waiting period required
of every applicant, regardless of length of residence, they can
not reasonably be used to support a provision whereby aids are
denied to all needy and otherwise eligible applicants who have
resided in the state less than one year and granted to applicants
similarly situated with respect to need and eligibility, but who
have resided here for more than one year.
And because the residence required here is one year, we need
not consider whether there are distinct considerations which
might support a requirement of a relatively short period of
Purposes which the one year residence requirement might be
thought to serve appear to be as follows: (1) To make it
unprofitable for a nonresident to come to Wisconsin for the
purpose of drawing welfare aid payments; (2) to discourage
nonresidents from coming to Wisconsin for other purposes unless
they are certain of their ability to sustain themselves for the
first year; and (3) to encourage or compel recent arrivals who
find themselves in need to leave Wisconsin, presumably to return
to their previous homes.
In our opinion, purposes (2) and (3) are not proper state
In Edwards v. California*fn9 the Supreme Court held invalid a
California statute which prohibited anyone from bringing an
indigent person into California. The statute had the overall
purpose of protecting the state and local public treasuries, as
does the statute at bar. The majority in Edwards held the
California statute an unconstitutional barrier to interstate
commerce. It is true the one year residence requirement does not
interfere as directly with interstate movement as did the
California statute, but it is significant that the majority
concluded that the state's desire to protect its treasury from
applications for aid by recent arrivals did not justify
interference with interstate movement.
*fn9 (1941), 314 U.S. 160, 62 S.Ct. 164, 86 L.Ed. 119.
Moreover four members of the court*fn10 concluded that
citizens of the United States have a right, regardless of their
economic condition, to seek their fortunes in states of their
choice, a right which the state can not abridge.
*fn10 Concurring opinion of Mr. Justice Douglas, with whom Mr.
Justice Black and Mr. Justice Murphy joined, and concurring
opinion of Mr. Justice Jackson.
It follows, we think from either theory, that a state can not
justify a classification of its needy residents which operates to
discourage nonresidents from coming to the state and to force
recent arrivals to leave.
We surmise that purpose (1) is the purpose most widely thought
to be served by the one year residence requirement. It is our
impression that people of any state are inclined to believe that
the level of aids in their home state is higher than elsewhere
and that if there is no lengthy residence requirement,
nonresidents who are willing to live on public aids will move
into the home state to enjoy a higher level of aid payments.
Purpose (1) and purpose (2) are both based on an assumption
that poor people throughout the country have a considerable
knowledge of the welfare laws of the various states, and take
them into consideration in a decision to move. The factual basis
for the assumption is dubious. There have been studies which
indicate that people are motivated by employment, better
opportunities, better living
conditions, the presence of friends and families, and the
*fn11 See New York State Department of Social Welfare, The Movement
of Population and Public Welfare in New York State (1958);
Greenleigh Associates, Inc., Facts, Fallacies, and Future (1960);
A Study of Families from the Southern Appalachian Region
Receiving Public Assistance (1960); A Follow-Up Study of General
Assistance Applications to Determine Possible Changes in Their
Characteristics (1961); The Blackboard Curtain (1962);
Characteristics of General Assistance Applicants (1965).
Even if we assume, however, that some people move in order to
enjoy a greener welfare pasture, and that a state may properly
deny aid payments to persons who come with that intent, we think
the one year residence requirement is not reasonable in the light
of such purpose. It has the effect of a conclusive presumption
that all people who need aid within a year have come for that
purpose. It not only exerts the duress of the denial of the
necessities of life upon people who have been so motivated, but
also upon others who have come for different reasons, and upon
children who have exercised no choice in the matter. In our
opinion, the presumption of validity is overcome.
We are aware that the one year residence requirement enjoys
some implication of congressional approval, since Congress
selected one year as the longest period of residence which could
be required by any state without disqualifying the state's
program from federal participation.*fn12 The question, however,
is whether the state statute violates the fourteenth amendment,
and approval by Congress does not control. We have already cited
the decisions of three district courts invalidating one year
residence requirements [fn. 7]. In one of them, Harrell v.
Tobriner, 279 F. Supp. 22, the court dealt with a one year
residence requirement imposed by Congress in the District of
Columbia, and held that it violated the due process requirement
of the fifth amendment.
*fn12 See 42 U.S.C. § 302(b)(2), 602(b)(2), 1202(b)(1), and