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Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman

Privileges And Immunities Clause: Residency Requirements

Residency is the length of time a person must stay in a particular area to enjoy certain legal protections or benefits. States have frequently sought to limit the amount of benefits or protections a person new to the state, or not a resident, might receive. For some rights, such as to file suit in state courts, a person must simply prove they have sufficient interests in a state, such as through business. However, durational residency requirements may actually demand a person actually live in the state for a specified period of time.

When residency requirements are applied to fundamental constitutional rights, such as welfare and public housing benefits, basic medical care, and voting, the state must demonstrate a strong compelling interest. Often such requirements violate the Equal Protection Clause by restricting the fundamental constitutional right for the poor to travel between states as others do. For other rights or privileges, including to run for public office, practice a profession, government employment, attend certain public schools, and initiate a lawsuit, the state must only demonstrate a reasonable basis for the restriction. By the 1990s most states had dropped durational requirements for voting and enacted motor-voter laws, meaning a person can vote when they apply for a drivers license.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman - Significance, Higher Courts' Decisions, Higher Courts' Decisions Affirmed, Impact, Privileges And Immunities Clause: Residency Requirements