New Jersey Welfare Rights Organization v. Cahill

New Jersey Welfare Rights Organization v. Cahill
411 U.S. 619 (1973) |
SCOTUS decided 1973-05-07
Jurisdiction level:

Limiting public benefits to households in which the parents are ceremonially married and have at least one minor child of both, the natural child of one and adopted by the other, or a child adopted by both, denies equal protection to illegitimate children.

Result: Win
Importance:

Elizabeth H. Pleck, “Not Just Roommates: Cohabitation After the Sexual Revolution”, p. 63: “The belief that the state should promote marriage and punish immorality was too strong to confront directly by arguing the cohabitors had a right not to marry or that the state was discriminating against cohabitors by providing enhanced benefits to married couples. Instead, the welfare rights attorneys harkened back to the “needy children” arguments so effective in King v. Smith. They argued that New Jersey’s program discriminated against poor illegitimate children in New Jersey while granting benefits to children whose parents were legally married. Agreeing… the U.S. Supreme Court held that the New Jersey program was unconstitutional, a denial of of equal protection to children born out of wedlock.


Law type: Civil
Topic(s): Equal protection and Public assistance
State of origin: NJ
Attorneys:

Attorneys not listed anywhere.


Others involved: New Jersey Welfare Rights Organization.
Organization role:

Last modified: 2020-04-02 11:27
Case internal grade: A | Case internal status: OK |
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CASE DETAILS

(The syllabus is not part of the opinion, but is a summary prepared by the court reporter as a convenience.)

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

Syllabus

Statute limiting benefits of the “Assistance to Families of the Working Poor” program to those households in which the parents are ceremonially married and have at least one minor child of both, the natural child of one and adopted by the other, or a child adopted by both, denies equal protection to illegitimate children. 349 F. Supp. 491, reversed.