PLYLER v. DOE

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
80-1538
Appellee 
Doe
Appellant 
Plyler
Consolidation 
No. 80-1934
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellees in Plyler v. Doe)
(Argued the cause for appellees in the related case)
(Argued the cause for the appellants in Plyler v. Doe)
(Argued the cause for appellants in the related case)
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Facts of the Case 

A revision to the Texas education laws in 1975 allowed the state to withhold from local school districts state funds for educating children of illegal aliens. This case was decided together with Texas v. Certain Named and Unnamed Alien Child.

Question 

Did the law violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Doe, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

Yes. The Court reasoned that illegal aliens and their children, though not citizens of the United States or Texas, are people "in any ordinary sense of the term" and, therefore, are afforded Fourteenth Amendment protections. Since the state law severely disadvantaged the children of illegal aliens, by denying them the right to an education, and because Texas could not prove that the regulation was needed to serve a "compelling state interest," the Court struck down the law.

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PLYLER v. DOE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 29 August 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1981/1981_80_1538>.
PLYLER v. DOE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1981/1981_80_1538 (last visited August 29, 2014).
"PLYLER v. DOE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 29, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1981/1981_80_1538.