Case: Goldberg v. Kelly

1:68-cv-00394 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Filed Date: 1968

Closed Date: March 23, 1970

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Under the Due Process Clause, the government may not deprive persons of "property" without due process of law. This is the Supreme Court case that recognized as "property" not only items traditionally considered property (money, real estate, etc.), but interests conferred by the government, such as welfare. As a result, termination of welfare requires due process of law. In 1968, plaintiffs brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ne…

Under the Due Process Clause, the government may not deprive persons of "property" without due process of law. This is the Supreme Court case that recognized as "property" not only items traditionally considered property (money, real estate, etc.), but interests conferred by the government, such as welfare. As a result, termination of welfare requires due process of law.

In 1968, plaintiffs brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Plaintiffs were residents of New York City receiving financial aid under the federally assisted program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or under New York State's general Home Relief program. Their complaint alleged that the New York State and New York City officials administering these programs terminated, or were about to terminate, such aid without prior notice and hearing, thereby denying them due process of law. At the time the suits were filed there was no requirement of prior notice or hearing of any kind before termination of financial aid. However, the State and city adopted procedures for notice and hearing after the suits were brought, and Plaintiffs then challenged the constitutional adequacy of those procedures. Defendants in the suit were the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services, the State Board of Social Welfare and the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services.

On November 26, 1968, a three-judge district court ruled for the plaintiffs. In an opinion by Court of Appeals Judge Wilfred Feinberg, the three-judge district court held that a pre-termination hearing for welfare recipients is constitutionally required and that the procedures set forth for such hearing are the constitutional minimum. Kelly v. Wyman, 294 F. Supp. 893 (S.D.N.Y. 1968)

Because the case was decided by a three-judge district court, the city was entitled to direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 23, 1970, the Supreme Court affirmed the District Court's decision. In a majority opinion by Justice William Brennan, the Court held that the due process clause requires a pre-termination evidentiary hearing when public assistance payments to welfare recipient are discontinued, and further held that procedures followed by New York City in terminating public assistance payments to welfare recipients were constitutionally inadequate, because they failed to permit recipients to appear personally (with or without counsel) before the official adjudicating eligibility, and failed to permit the recipient to present evidence orally, or to cross-examine adverse witnesses.

Three dissenting opinions were filed, by Justice Hugo Black, Justice Potter Stewart, and Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Summary Authors

Xin Chen (6/8/2011)

People


Judge(s)

Black, Hugo Lafayette (District of Columbia)

Brennan, William Joseph Jr. (District of Columbia)

Bryan, Frederick van Pelt (New York)

Burger, Warren Earl (District of Columbia)

Feinberg, Wilfred (New York)

Hamlin, Oliver Deveta Jr. (California)

McLean, Edward Cochrane (New York)

Wollenberg, Albert Charles (California)

Zirpoli, Alfonso Joseph (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Buchsbaum, Stanley (New York)

Judge(s)

Black, Hugo Lafayette (District of Columbia)

Brennan, William Joseph Jr. (District of Columbia)

Bryan, Frederick van Pelt (New York)

Burger, Warren Earl (District of Columbia)

Feinberg, Wilfred (New York)

Hamlin, Oliver Deveta Jr. (California)

McLean, Edward Cochrane (New York)

Wollenberg, Albert Charles (California)

Zirpoli, Alfonso Joseph (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Buchsbaum, Stanley (New York)

Loflin, John J. Jr. (New York)

Rankin, J. Lee (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Albert, Lee A. (New York)

Antler, Steven J. (California)

Barrack, Shyleur (New York)

Borsody, Robert (New York)

Cohen, Mort (New York)

Cole, Stephen J. (New York)

Darrow, Peter H (New York)

Diamond, David (New York)

Freedman, Henry A. (New York)

Gans, Louise Gruner (New York)

Garbus, Martin (New York)

Gilman, David (New York)

Hoffman, Lois (New York)

Katz, Lucy V. (New York)

Kwasnik, Richard (New York)

Law, Sylvia (New York)

Levy, Nancy Duff (New York)

Ralston, Charles Stephen (California)

Rosenblatt, Rand (New York)

Rosenfield, Marianne (New York)

Rothwax, Harold J. (New York)

Sitkin, Peter E. (California)

Sparer, Edward V. (New York)

Weisner, Steve (New York)

Wizner, Steve (New York)

Wolinsky, Sidney M. (California)

Woods, Winton D. Jr. (New York)

Zola, Michiael S. (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Christensen, Craig W. (Illinois)

Felson, Stephen R. (District of Columbia)

Fessler, Daniel Wm. (Illinois)

Griswold, Erwin N. (District of Columbia)

Rosenblum, Victor G. (Oregon)

Ruckelshaus, William D. (District of Columbia)

Zener, Robert V. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

68-48303

Memorandum Opinion and Order Dismissing Action

Wheeler v. Montgomery

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

296 F.Supp. 138

April 19, 1968

April 19, 1968

Order/Opinion

1:68-cv-00394

68-00864

Order

Kelly v. Wyman

294 F.Supp. 893

Nov. 26, 1968

Nov. 26, 1968

Order/Opinion

1:68-cv-00394

68-00864

Appellant's Brief

Kelly v. Goldberg

Supreme Court of the United States

1969 WL 120159

June 30, 1969

June 30, 1969

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:68-cv-00394

68-00864

Brief for Appellees

Kelly v. Goldberg

Supreme Court of the United States

1969 WL 136924

Aug. 30, 1969

Aug. 30, 1969

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:68-cv-00394

68-00864

Brief of Amicus Curiae on Behalf of Appellees

Kelly v. Goldberg

Supreme Court of the United States

1969 WL 136923

Sept. 2, 1969

Sept. 2, 1969

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:68-cv-00394

68-00864

Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae

Kelly v. Goldberg

Supreme Court of the United States

1969 WL 136888

Sept. 10, 1969

Sept. 10, 1969

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:68-cv-00394

68-00864

Brief in Reply to the United States as Amicus Curiae

Kelly v. Goldberg

Supreme Court of the United States

1969 WL 120156

Oct. 8, 1969

Oct. 8, 1969

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:68-cv-00394

68-00864

Appellant's Reply Brief

Kelly v. Goldberg

Supreme Court of the United States

1969 WL 120157

Oct. 9, 1969

Oct. 9, 1969

Pleading / Motion / Brief

68-00864

Supreme Court Opinion

Wheeler v. Montgomery

Supreme Court of the United States

397 U.S. 280, 90 S.Ct. 1028, 25 L.Ed.2d 307

March 23, 1970

March 23, 1970

Order/Opinion

1:68-cv-00394

68-00864

Supreme Court Opinion

Supreme Court of the United States

397 U.S. 254, 90 S.Ct. 1011, 25 L.Ed.2d 287

March 23, 1970

March 23, 1970

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 4, 2022, 3:06 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1968

Closing Date: March 23, 1970

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs are New York City welfare recipients; they claim that the procedures for termination of welfare benefits deny due process and violate both the Social Security Act and regulations of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Legal Services/Legal Aid

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services, State

the State Board of Social Welfare, State

the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services, City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Public assistance grants

Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)