Saenz v. Roe

If you are being watched, leave now!


May 17, 1999

Saenz v. Roe, 526 U.S. 489 (1999)

This Supreme Court case successfully challenged the constitutionality of California’s one-year residency requirement before new Californians could receive full welfare benefits.

Our Role in the Case

Legal Momentum was co-counsel with the ACLU of Southern California and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and brought into the case the perspective of battered women who must flee their abusers across state lines.


In a groundbreaking decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that California’s law violated plaintiffs’ right to travel, as protected by the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.  According to the Court, “[c]itizens of the United States, whether rich or poor, have the right to choose to be citizens of the State wherein they reside.”  The majority opinion was written by Justice Stevens with Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Thomas dissenting. 

Find out more about the case ON the Oyez Library


  • Workplace Equality and Economic Empowerment

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