Quern v. Mandley

LOCATION:Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers

DOCKET NO.: 76-1159
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 436 US 725 (1978)
ARGUED: Nov 30, 1977
DECIDED: Jun 06, 1978

George W. Lindberg – for petitioners in No. 76-1159
Keith A. Jones – for petitioner in No. 76-1416
Keith Jones
Michael F. Lefkow –
Michael R. Lefkow – for respondents in both cases

Facts of the case


Media for Quern v. Mandley

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – November 30, 1977 in Quern v. Mandley

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 06, 1978 in Quern v. Mandley

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Quern against Mandley and Califano against Mandley will be announced by Mr. Justice Stewart.

Potter Stewart:

These cases are here by reason of a grant of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The cases present two questions concerning the validity of public assistance programs that Illinois operates with federal funds under Title IV-A of the Federal Social Security Act.

The litigation originated as a challenge to the state’s program of emergency assistance to needy families with children.

The Social Security Act as amended in 1968 makes federal funds available for state programs of emergency aid to families that are threatened with destitution for any reason, even if they are not eligible for aid to families with dependent children known as AFDC.

Illinois, however, elected to provide emergency aid only to families who were also eligible for AFDC and only if their need was the result of certain specified events.

The Court of Appeals, reversing the District Court, first held that Illinois’ Emergency Assistance program was invalid because it limited eligibility for such assistance more narrowly than the federal statute.

The state then announced it’s intention to withdraw from the Emergency Assistance program.

It proposed instead to provide the same limited type of assistance under an AFDC special needs program.

The plaintiffs asserted that this program was invalid for the same reasons that the Emergency Assistance program was invalid and in a subsequent appeal the Court of Appeals agreed.

It held that the proposed AFDC special needs program was a de facto Emergency Assistance program and that the state was therefore required to extend aid to all persons eligible under the federal law under that program.

For the reasons stated in a fairly lengthy opinion filed with the clerk this morning, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals on both scores.

There is nothing in the policies or history of the Emergency Assistance provision to indicate that Illinois’ proposed AFDC special needs program must meet the requirements of an Emergency Assistance program.

And judged solely under the requirements of AFDC itself, Illinois’ proposed plan to meet certain emergency needs of AFDC recipients is not necessarily improper simply because it addresses non-recurring needs that could alternatively be provided for under an Emergency Assistance program.

In addition, we hold that the Social Security Act does not impose mandatory eligibility standards on states that elect to participate in the Emergency Assistance Program.

Therefore, Illinois is not precluded from receiving federal funds for either an Emergency Assistance program or a special needs program under AFDC simply because it limits eligibility for aid more narrowly than the Social Security Act.

Accordingly the judgments are reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with the Court’s written opinion filed with the clerk today.

Mr. Justice Blackmun took no part in the consideration or decision of these cases.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Stewart.