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Mathews v. Diaz

Citation. 426 U.S. 67, 96 S.Ct. 1883, 48 L.Ed.2d 478 (1976).

Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiffs challenged statute which conditioned medical insurance under Medicare Part B on alienage-based classifications.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The federal government may restrict resident aliens from receiving or qualifying for federal benefits enjoyed by U.S. citizens.

Facts.

Plaintiffs, resident aliens lawfully admitted to the U.S. less than five years ago, applied for Medicare Part B. They were all denied and brought suit, challenging the basis for denial. Plaintiffs argued a statute denying eligibility to aliens unless they had been admitted for permanent residence and also have resided in the U.S. for at least five years was unconstitutional.

Issue.

Whether the federal government can condition eligibility for federal medical insurance on continuous residency in the U.S. and admission for permanent residence.

Held.

Yes. The federal government can condition eligibility for federal medical insurance on continuous residency in the U.S. and admission for permanent residence.

Discussion.

Under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, aliens and citizens are both protected. However, this protection does not lead to the further conclusion that all aliens are entitled to enjoy all the advantages of citizenship, or indeed, to the conclusion that all aliens must be placed in a single homogenous legal classification.

In exercise of its broad power over naturalization and immigration, Congress regularly makes rules that would be unacceptable if applied to citizens. Neither requirement imposed here is wholly irrational.


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