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Graham v. Richardson



Carmen Richardson, et al.


John O. Graham, Commissioner, Department of Public Welfare, State of Arizona

Appellant's Claim

Arizona's alien residency requirements violated the Equal Protection Clause and the constitutional right to travel; they conflicted with the Social Security Act, as the Supremacy Clause took precedence; Congress had regulatory powers over aliens, not individual states.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Anthony B. Ching

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Michael S. Flam

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, Harry A. Blackmun (writing for the Court), William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, William O. Douglas, John Marshall Harlan II, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

14 June 1971


Provisions of state welfare laws that placed conditions on welfare benefits due to citizenship and imposed durational residency requirements on aliens violated the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

Related Cases

  • Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969).
  • Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
  • Martinez v. Bynum, 461 U.S. 321 (1983).

Further Readings

  • Dorsen, N., O. K., and T. Viles Fraenkel. Civil Liberties in the United States, Vol. 6, P.F. Collier, 1996.
  • Hull, Elisabeth. "Resident Aliens and the Equal Protection Clause: The Burger Court's Retreat from Graham v. Richardson." Brooklyn Law Review, Vol. 47, no. 1, p. 1.
  • McWhirter, Darien A. "Urban Residence and Poverty." Exploring the Constitution, Vol. 1. The Oryx Press, 1995.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972