Assignment 2 – Constitutional Law
The state of East Masshampshire is suffering through a fiscal crisis. Last year, the state ran a budget deficit of $34 billion, which constituted 15% of all state spending. State legislators are concerned that without dramatic reduction in spending, the state will not be able to pay for basic services and debt service on its interest within a couple of years.
Therefore, the state passes a series of austerity regulations to cut spending. Among these regulations are the following:
Section 7. Limitation of healthcare services to United States citizens. Commencing on January 1 of the year following the passage of this bill, no person shall be eligible to receive state subsidized health insurance under any health insurance program administered by the state unless he or she satisfactorily proves that he or she is a citizen of the United States.
Section 12. Residency requirements for eligibility for state programs. No person shall be eligible to participate in any state subsidized benefits program unless he or she satisfactorily proves that he or she has been a resident of the state of East Masshampshire for at least 24 of the 36 months prior to his or her application.
Pedro is a lawful permanent resident in the state of East Masshampshire who was born in Mexico and immigrated to Texas seven years ago. He moved to East Masshampshire only three months ago.
Pedro is considering filing an action in federal court, challenging the regulations above, based on the following arguments:
1) Pedro contends that Section 7 is unconstitutional because it discriminates against him based on his status as a non-US citizen.
2) Pedro also contends that Section 12 is unconstitutional because of its residency requirement. He is not sure exactly what the logic behind this challenge might be, but he has a feeling there may be something challengeable about this provision.
3) Pedro further shows, using a reliable statistical study, that both Section 7 and Section 12 will have a far greater impact on people of Mexican descent then it will on other people, because many people of Mexican descent in the state have recently immigrated to the United States and are not yet citizens. He therefore claims that both rules are a violation of equal protection.
The state of East Masshampshire defends all three challenges by stating that their laws were not intended to discriminate against anybody, but they are merely necessary to balance the state budget, which is a fiscal necessity.
Please analyze all three of Pedro claims based on the equal protection and/or due process clauses of the United States Constitution. Please make sure to use appropriate case law in furthering your arguments.
You do not need to write IRAC-style essays to answer any of these questions.