Smith v. Organization of Foster Families For Equality & Reform

PETITIONER: Smith
RESPONDENT: Organization of Foster Families For Equality & Reform
LOCATION: United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

DOCKET NO.: 76-180
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 431 US 816 (1977)
ARGUED: Mar 21, 1977
DECIDED: Jun 13, 1977

ADVOCATES:
Helen L. Buttenwieser - for appellants Gandy et al.
Louise Gruner Gans - for appellants Rodriguez et al.
Marcia Robinson Lowry - for appellees
Maria L. Marcus - for appellants Smith et al. and Shapiro et al.

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Smith v. Organization of Foster Families For Equality & Reform

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 21, 1977 in Smith v. Organization of Foster Families For Equality & Reform

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 13, 1977 in Smith v. Organization of Foster Families For Equality & Reform

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The other case -- actually its four cases led by 76-180 which is here from a three-judge District Court for the Southern District of New York.

It was an action brought by individual foster parents and a foster parent's organization seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against certain New York State and New York City officials alleging that the statutory and regulatory procedures for removal of foster children from foster homes violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

The three-judge District Court held that indeed the State's pre-removal procedures are constitutionally defective and that before a foster child can be peremptorily transferred to another foster home or indeed even back to its natural parents is entitled to an administrative hearing at which all concerned parties may present relevant information.

But we don't agree and we reversed, we hold that the challenge procedures under New York law are constitutionally adequate even where at to be assumed that the appellees, the foster parents and foster parent's organization have a protected liberty interest under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Mr. Justice Stewart has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment and opinion in which the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Rehnquist joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Brennan.