Brief Fact Summary. The Appellees, Diaz and others (Appellees), were denied enrollment into a federal insurance plan solely on the basis that they were not citizens of the United States.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The federal government may restrict aliens from receiving or qualifying for benefits enjoyed by United States citizens.
Issue. Whether Congress may, under the United States Constitution (Constitution), condition an alien’s eligibility for participation in a federal medical insurance program on continuous residence in the United States for a five-year period and admission for permanent residence.
Held. Justice John Paul Stevens (J. Stevens). Yes. The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects aliens and citizens. However, this protection does not lead to the conclusion that “all aliens are entitled to enjoy all the advantages of citizenship . . . .” Also, The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution concerns relationships between aliens and states, not between aliens and the federal government. The judgment is reversed.
Discussion. The Constitution allows the federal government more freedom in its exercise of power over aliens then that of the states.