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Case Name Doe v. Trump PB-IL-0014
Docket / Court 1:20-CV-02531 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action filed on April 24 against the U.S. government to challenge the Exclusion Provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as a temporary restraining order (TRO) ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action filed on April 24 against the U.S. government to challenge the Exclusion Provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as a temporary restraining order (TRO). On July 7 and October 9, the defendants filed motions to dismiss. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case in January 2021 after the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was passed, which effectively provided the same relief as sought by the plaintiffs. This case is believed to be closed.


On April 24, 2020, an individual married to a spouse without a social security number (SSN) filed this putative class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government to challenge the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The defendants were Donald J. Trump, in his official capacity as President, Mitch McConnell, in his official capacity as U.S. Senator and sponsor of the CARES Act, and Steven Mnuchin, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury. The plaintiff alleged that the social security number requirement violated the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution including the right of association, the right to due process of law, and the right to equal protection. The plaintiff also claimed to have suffered substantial mental pain and suffering and severe emotional distress and injury and included a claim of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. The plaintiffs filed this action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and were represented by private attorneys. The plaintiff’s proposed class sought to include all U.S. citizens married to a spouse without an SSN, and who filed joint tax returns with immigrants who would otherwise qualify. The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief enjoining the enforcement of the CARES provision at issue. The plaintiff also sought attorney fees and class certification, and also requested a jury trial. The case was assigned to District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.

On March 27, President Trump announced the CARES Act aimed to provide emergency assistance and health care response to individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act authorized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to distribute $1200.00 to each eligible individual who is U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or qualifying residing aliens with a valid SSN. Under Section 6428, or the Exclusion Provision, the applicant was also required to provide a “valid identification number,” or, an SSN of their spouse on their tax returns. The plaintiff, married to an immigrant with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) but without an SSN, did not qualify for the Advance Payment. There are 1.2 million Americans married to immigrants who do not hold Social Security numbers.

The plaintiff argued that her exclusion from eligibility on the basis of her choice to marry a non-citizen was a violation of her First Amendment rights. Moreover, the plaintiff alleged that the Exclusion clause was against the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments as it infringed her fundamental choice to marry whom she wished, and discrimination based on the fundamental right to marry is presumptively unconstitutional and subject to strict scrutiny. The plaintiff also argued that Section 6428 was not narrowly tailored to advance a compelling government interest, no rationally related to any legitimate government interest.

On April 27, the plaintiff submitted an amended class action complaint, adding that the Act violated the penumbra of privacy rights under the First, Third, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, but removing the claim of emotional distress. On April 30, the plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order.

On May 2, the plaintiffs filed a second amended class action complaint and added two defendants, Charles Rettig, in his official capacity as U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the United States of America.

The defendants opposed the motion for a TRO on May 18, claiming that the court had no jurisdiction and the plaintiff failed to state a claim. They also argued that the plaintiff would not suffer irreparable injury because monetary relief would remedy the alleged harm and that the plaintiff had non-equitable remedies available because they could claim a credit under the CARES Act by filing a tax return separately from their spouse.

On July 7, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case against all defendants other than the United States of America, as the lawsuit was a constitutional challenge for equitable relief, for which they argued that the United States alone is the proper defendant. And on October 9, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the claims against the United States on the basis of sovereign immunity and failure to state a claim. On December 14, the court granted and denied in part the defendants' motion to dismiss, dismissing the individual defendants from the lawsuit.

On January 19, 2021, the plaintiff moved to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. The plaintiffs stated that, in December 2020, President Trump passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which contained a provision that amended the CARES Act to allow stimulus checks for a spouse or otherwise qualifying child as long as the valid identification number of at least one spouse was included on the tax return. Thus, the new act retroactively repealed and replaced the Exclusion Provision with one that provided substantially the same relief as sought by the plaintiffs. The court granted the motion on the same day. The plaintiffs' motion for temporary restraining order and defendants' motion to dismiss were stricken as moot.

On February 18, the plaintiffs moved for attorney fees, and the defendants moved to strike the plaintiffs motion on February 26. The court granted the defendants' motion on the same day, as the plaintiffs did not comply with Local Rule 54.3. The court stated that plaintiffs were permitted to file a renewed motion if they complied with the Rule.

This case is believed to be closed.

Averyn Lee - 07/12/2020
Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 11/30/2020
Zofia Peach - 03/11/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Family discrimination
Immigration status
General
Disparate Treatment
Marriage
Public assistance grants
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Senator and Sponsor of the CARES Act
Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury
President of the United States
U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
United States of America
Plaintiff Description All United States Citizens married to immigrants that file joint taxes wherein the immigrant-spouses file tax returns using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number whom would have otherwise qualified for the Stimulus Check
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 04/24/2020
Case Closing Year 2021
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-WI-0004 : Does v. Trump (E.D. Wis.)
PB-CA-0055 : Doe v. Trump (C.D. Cal.)
PB-WI-0005 : Does v. Trump (W.D. Wis.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  A Critical Legal Rhetoric Approach to In Re African-American Slave Descendants Litigation
https://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1023&context=jcred
Date: Jun. 1, 2010
By: Lolita Buckner Inniss (St. John's Law Scholarship Repository)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
N.D. Ill.
02/26/2021
1:20-cv-2531
PB-IL-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Ill.
04/24/2020
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-IL-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
04/27/2020
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 11]
PB-IL-0014-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
04/30/2020
Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and/or Declaratory Judgment [ECF# 13 (incl. 13-1 to 13-4)]
PB-IL-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
05/02/2020
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 20]
PB-IL-0014-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
05/18/2020
United States' Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff's Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and/or Declaratory Judgment [ECF# 22]
PB-IL-0014-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
05/29/2020
Plaintiff's Reply in Support of his Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and/or Declaratory Judgment [ECF# 25 (incl. 25-1 to 25-5)]
PB-IL-0014-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
07/07/2020
Motion to Dismiss Claims Against All Defendants Other Than the United States [ECF# 44, 45]
PB-IL-0014-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
10/09/2020
Motion to Dismiss Claims Against the United States [ECF# 61]
PB-IL-0014-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
12/14/2020
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 70] (2020 WL 7337818)
PB-IL-0014-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
01/19/2021
Unopposed Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction [ECF# 71]
PB-IL-0014-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Coleman, Sharon Johnson (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0009 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abuzir, Omar A (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Blaise, Heather Lea (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Gavin, Elisabeth Anne (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Khalaf, Vivian R (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Moore, Guinevere Marie (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-0010 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Nassar, Lana B (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0003 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-0010 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Nitschke, Thomas John (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Konig, Jordan Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0005 | PB-IL-0014-0007 | PB-IL-0014-0008 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Williamson, Christopher James (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0005 | PB-IL-0014-0007 | PB-IL-0014-0008 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Zuckerman, Richard E (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0005 | PB-IL-0014-0007 | PB-IL-0014-0008

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