Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Toll v. Moreno case brief

Toll v. Moreno case brief summary
458 U.S. 1 (1982)

Petitioner state university sought review of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit's decision that petitioner's policy of denying respondents, nonimmigrant aliens with G-4 visas, in-state status for the purposes of university admissions and fees violated the Supremacy Clause, U.S. Constitutional amendment VI, clause 2.

Respondents, nonimmigrant G-4 aliens, were denied in-state status by petitioner state university because petitioner's policy excluded all domiciled nonimmigrant G-4 aliens from attaining in-state status. The district court found that petitioner's policy violated the Supremacy Clause, U.S. Constitutional amendment VI, clause 2.

  • The appellate court affirmed. 
  • Petitioner challenged the appellate court's holding on the basis that its policy was justified because respondents' parents' salaries from international banks were exempt from state taxation under state law. 
  • Thus, the dollar differential between in-state status and out of state fees charged by the university equaled the amount foregone in taxes. 
  • However, the court held that this was an impermissible basis on which to discriminate against respondents. 
  • The court discussed the federal government's authority to regulate the status of aliens and noted that Congress had specifically allowed nonimmigrant aliens with G-4 visas to acquire domicile. 
  • Therefore, petitioner's decision to deny in-state status to respondents solely on account of the G-4 alien's federal immigration status amounted to an ancillary burden not contemplated by Congress.

The court affirmed the lower court's decision that petitioner state university's policy barring respondents, nonimmigrant aliens with G-4 visas, from acquiring in-state status violated the Supremacy Clause. The court noted that the federal government admitted G-4 aliens into the country on terms that permitted them to establish domicile in the United States; thus, a state could not prevent a G-4 alien from acquiring domicile.

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