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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Facts of the Case 

John Kelly, acting on behalf of New York residents receiving financial assistance either under the federally-assisted program for Families with Dependent Children or under New York State's home relief program, challenged the constitutionality of procedures for notice and termination of such aid. Although originally offering no official notice or opportunity for hearings to those whose aid was scheduled for termination, the State of New York implemented a hearing procedure after commencement of Kelly's litigation.


Does a state's termination of public aid, without affording the beneficiary a hearing prior to termination, violate notions of procedural due process as set out in the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause?

Decision: 5 votes for Kelly, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Due Process

Yes. In a 7-to-2 decision, the Court held that states must afford public aid recipients a pre-termination evidentiary hearing before discontinuing their aid. Noting that welfare benefits are statutory entitlements, rather than "privileges," the Court weighed welfare recipients' need for procedural due process against the competing considerations of the possible harm they might suffer from discontinuation and the government's interest in summary adjudication. The Court concluded that state interests in conserving administrative costs are not sufficient to override public aid recipients' interest in procedural due process. With respect to New York's newly implemented hearings, the Court found them deficient insofar as they did not permit recipients to present evidence, be heard orally in person or through counsel, or cross-examine adverse witnesses.

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GOLDBERG v. KELLY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 August 2015. <>.
GOLDBERG v. KELLY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 30, 2015).
"GOLDBERG v. KELLY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 30, 2015,