Green v. Mansour

LOCATION: Dow Chemical

DOCKET NO.: 84-6270
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 474 US 64 (1985)
ARGUED: Oct 07, 1985
DECIDED: Dec 03, 1985

Louis J. Caruso - on behalf of the respondent
William Burnham - on behalf of the petitioners

Facts of the case


Media for Green v. Mansour

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 07, 1985 in Green v. Mansour

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in Green against the Michigan Department of Social Services.

Mr. Burnham, I think you may proceed whenever you are ready.

William Burnham:

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, I would like to reserve five minutes of my time for rebuttal.

This case is actually comprised of two Section 1983 class actions.

The claims in the cases are essentially that the defendant state official violated the plaintiff's statutory rights under Title 4(d) of the Social Security Act, thereby depriving them of AFDC benefits to which they were entitled.

The two cases factually parallel each other.

However, I will indicated briefly what those were.

The cases were filed in 1980 and 1981.

The first case, denominated Michigan Welfare Rights Organization versus Dempsey originally, is the child care expense case, in which Michigan in concluding an AFDC budget refused to allow a deduction for the expenses of child care which were necessary to be paid for the recipient to go to work.

This, petitioners believe, violated clear pre-October, 1981, federal law.

This court has decided a case on that very issue, Shea versus Vialpando.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with administration of the Act, wrote Michigan several letters telling them essentially that, and they nonetheless did not change the policy.

However, in October, 1981, federal law changed, and federal law continued the requirement that there be deductions allowed.

However, Michigan changed its regulation to comply with the new federal law.

The reason for that presumably was because the new federal law imposed a limitation of $160 a month, and Michigan believed, I suppose, that it could live with that, and therefore changed its policy to comply with the new federal law.

The other case, Benas versus Dempsey--

William H. Rehnquist:

What remains of that first case now, the one that you have just described, after the chance?

William Burnham:

--After the change, the defendants, we would submit, are currently in compliance with the new federal law.

Consequently, what remains is our request for summary judgment as to the defendant's compliance with federal law before October of 1981, and the issue, but relief may be granted based upon that determination.

William H. Rehnquist:

And are you seeking damages for the period before 1981?

William Burnham:

We are not seeking any monetary relief at all.

We are not seeking damages.

All we are seeking is a declaratory judgment or some other substantive federal question determination, and an injunctive order requiring the defendant to send notice relief as was done in the case of Quern versus Jordan, which this Court decided in 1979.

William H. Rehnquist:

Why isn't the case moot or very close to it?

William Burnham:

Well, the case is not moot.

It is our position the case is not moot.

First of all, the Sixth Circuit found that it was not moot, and we believe that that analysis is in fact correct, although they decided against us on the Eleventh Amendment issue.

In order to be moot, of course, under Garrity, there must be a lack of any cognizable legal interest, and the issues are no longer live.

Under this circumstances, the issues are clearly live.

Byron R. White:

You want the notice.