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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Washington v. Legrant, No. 33
Reynolds v. Smith, No. 34
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
(Argued the cause for the appellant)
(As <i>pro hac vice</i>, argued the cause for the appellee)
Facts of the Case 

Thompson was a pregnant, nineteen-year-old mother of one child who applied for assistance under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in Connecticut after having recently moved there from Massachusetts. Connecticut denied her aid since she did not satisfy the state's one-year residency requirement. This case was decided together with Washington v. Legrant and Reynolds v. Smith. In Washington, three people applied for and were denied AFDC aid on the ground that they had not resided in the District of Columbia for one year immediately preceding the filing of their application In Reynolds, two appellees, Smith and Foster, were denied AFDC aid on the sole ground that they had not been residents of Pennsylvania for at least a year prior to their applications as required by a Pennsylvania Welfare Code.


Does the conditioning of AFDC aid on various residency requirements violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause?

Decision: 6 votes for Thompson, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

Yes. The Court held that since the regulation touched "on the fundamental right of interstate movement," it must promote a compelling state interest. Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC, all failed to advance any compelling administrative or social reasons for their requirements. The goal of simply preventing indigents from moving to these states was constitutionally impermissible, argued Justice Brennan, given the value the United States has historically placed on the freedom to travel.

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SHAPIRO v. THOMPSON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 28 August 2015. <>.
SHAPIRO v. THOMPSON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 28, 2015).
"SHAPIRO v. THOMPSON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 28, 2015,