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decided: June 28, 1982.



Brennan, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which White, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell, and Stevens, JJ., joined. Blackmun, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 19. O'connor, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, post, p. 24. Rehnquist, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Burger, C. J., joined, post, p. 25.

Author: Brennan

[ 458 U.S. Page 3]

 JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The state-operated University of Maryland grants preferential treatment for purposes of tuition and fees to students with "in-state" status. Although citizens and immigrant aliens may obtain in-state status upon a showing of domicile within the State, nonimmigrant aliens, even if domiciled, are not eligible for such status. The question in this case is whether the University's in-state policy is invalid under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, insofar as the policy categorically denies in-state status to domiciled nonimmigrant aliens who hold G-4 visas.


The factual and procedural background of this case, which has prompted two prior decisions of this Court, requires some elaboration. The focus of the controversy has been a policy adopted by the University in 1973 governing the eligibility of students for in-state status with respect to admission and fees. The policy provides in relevant part:

"1. It is the policy of the University of Maryland to grant in-state status for admission, tuition and charge-differential purposes to United States citizens, and to immigrant aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence in accordance with the laws of the United States, in the following cases:

[ 458 U.S. Page 4]

     "a. Where a student is financially dependent upon a parent, parents, or spouse domiciled in Maryland for at least six consecutive months prior to the last day available for registration for the forthcoming semester.

"b. Where a student is financially independent for at least the preceding twelve months, and provided the student has maintained his domicile in Maryland for at least six consecutive months immediately prior to the last day available for registration for the forthcoming semester." App. to Pet. for Cert. 167a-168a.

In 1975, when this action was filed, respondents Juan Carlos Moreno, Juan Pablo Otero, and Clare B. Hogg were students at the University of Maryland. Each resided with, and was financially dependent on, a parent who was a nonimmigrant alien holding a "G-4" visa. Such visas are issued to nonimmigrant aliens who are officers or employees of certain international organizations, and to members of their immediate families. 66 Stat. 168, 8 U. S. C. § 1101(a)(15)(G)(iv).*fn1 Despite respondents' residence in the State, the University denied them in-state status pursuant to its policy of excluding all nonimmigrant aliens. Seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, the three respondents filed a class action against the University of Maryland and its President.*fn2 They contended that the University's policy violated various federal laws, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Supremacy Clause.

[ 458 U.S. Page 5]

     The District Court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the three named plaintiffs and the class of G-4 visaholders represented by them.*fn3 In the view of the District Court, the University's denial of in-state status to these plaintiffs rested upon an irrebuttable presumption that a G-4 alien cannot establish Maryland domicile. Concluding that the presumption was "not universally true" as a matter of either federal or Maryland law, the District Court held that under Vlandis v. Kline, 412 U.S. 441 (1973), the in-state policy violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Moreno v. University of Maryland, 420 F.Supp. 541, 559 (Md. 1976). Accordingly, in an order dated July 13, 1976, the District Court enjoined the President of the University*fn4 from denying respondents the opportunity to establish in-state status solely on the basis of an "irrebuttable presumption of non-domicile." Id., at 565.*fn5 The court stayed its order pending appeal in reliance on the University's representation that it would make appropriate refunds "in the event the Court's Order of July 13, 1976, were finally affirmed on appeal." App. to Pet. for Cert. 100a. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed, adopting

[ 458 U.S. Page 6]

     the reasoning of the District Court. Id., at 102a.*fn6 Affirmance order reported at 556 F.2d 573 (1977).

We reviewed the case on writ of certiorari. Elkins v. Moreno, 435 U.S. 647 (1978). We held that "[because] petitioner makes domicile the 'paramount' policy consideration and because respondents' contention is that they can be domiciled in Maryland but are conclusively presumed to be unable to do so, this case is squarely within Vlandis as limited by [ Weinberger v.] Salfi, [422 U.S. 749 (1975)]." Id., at 660.*fn7 It was therefore necessary to decide whether the presumption was universally true. With respect to federal law, we concluded that G-4 visaholders could "adopt the United States as their domicile." Id., at 666.*fn8 We were thus left with the "potentially dispositive" question whether G-4 aliens are as a matter of state law incapable of becoming domiciliaries of Maryland. We certified this question to the Maryland Court of Appeals.*fn9 The state court answered the

[ 458 U.S. Page 7]

     certified question in the negative, advising us that "nothing in the general Maryland law of domicile renders G-4 visaholders, or their dependents, incapable of becoming domiciled in this State." Toll v. Moreno, 284 Md. 425, 444, 397 A. 2d 1009, 1019 (1979).

After our certification, but before the state court's response, the University adopted a "clarifying resolution" concerning its in-state policy.*fn10 By its terms the resolution did not offer a new definition of "in-state" students; rather, it purported to "reaffirm" the existing policy.*fn11 The resolution indicated, however, that the University's policy, "insofar as it denies in-state status to nonimmigrant aliens, serves a number of substantial purposes and interests, whether or not it conforms to the generally or otherwise applicable definition of domicile under the Maryland common law." App. to Pet. for Cert. 173a. The interests assertedly served by the policy were described in the following terms:

"(a) limiting the University's expenditures by granting a higher subsidy toward the expenses of providing educational services to that class of persons who, as a class, are more likely to have a close affinity to the State and to contribute more to its economic well-being;

"(b) achieving equalization between the affected classes of the expenses of providing educational services;

"(c) efficiently administering the University's in-state determination and appeals process; and

[ 458 U.S. Page 8]

     "(d) preventing disparate treatment among categories of non-immigrants with respect to admissions, tuition, and charge-differentials." Id., at 173a-174a.

Following the Maryland Court of Appeals' decision, the case returned to this Court. But we declined to restore the case to the active docket for full briefing and argument, concluding that the University's clarifying resolution had "fundamentally altered the posture of the case." Toll v. Moreno, 441 U.S. 458, 461 (1979) (per curiam). We noted that "if domicile [was] not the 'paramount' policy consideration of the University, this case [was] no longer 'squarely within Vlandis as limited by Salfi,'" and thus raised "new issues of constitutional law which should be addressed in the first instance by the District Court." Id., at 461-462, quoting Elkins v. Moreno, supra, at 660.*fn12 Accordingly, we vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case "to the District Court for further consideration in light of our opinion and judgment in Elkins, the opinion and judgment of the Maryland Court of Appeals in Toll, and the Board of Regents' clarifying resolution of June 23, 1978." 441 U.S., at 462.

On remand, the District Court determined that the clarifying resolution constituted a change in the University's position. Before that resolution, the University's primary concern had in fact been domicile; after the resolution, domicile was no longer "the paramount consideration in the University's policy." 480 F.Supp. 1116, 1124 (Md. 1979). Thus,

[ 458 U.S. Page 9]

     with respect to the period preceding the issuance of the resolution, the District Court reaffirmed its earlier determination that insofar as the policy precluded G-4 aliens (or their dependents) from acquiring in-state status, it denied due process under Vlandis. 480 F.Supp., at 1122-1125. With respect to the period following the promulgation of the resolution, however, the court held that Vlandis did not control: The University had abandoned its position that G-4 aliens could not establish domicile in Maryland. 480 F.Supp., at 1125. Nevertheless, the District Court concluded that the revised in-state policy was constitutionally invalid, basing its conclusion on two alternative grounds. First, the court held that the policy ran afoul of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. According to the court, the challenged portion of the University's policy contained a classification based on alienage, requiring strict scrutiny, an analysis which the policy did not survive, since the policy did not further any compelling interest. 489 F.Supp. 658, 660-667 (Md. 1980). Alternatively, the court held that the in-state policy violated the Supremacy Clause by encroaching upon Congress' prerogatives with respect to the regulation of immigration. Id., at 667-668.*fn13

The Court of Appeals affirmed for "reasons sufficiently stated" by the District Court. Moreno v. University of Maryland, 645 F.2d 217, 220 (1981) (per curiam). We granted certiorari. 454 U.S. 815 (1981). For the reasons that follow, we hold that the University of Maryland's in-state policy, as applied to G-4 aliens and their dependents, violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution,*fn14 and on

[ 458 U.S. Page 10]

     that ground affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals. We therefore have no occasion to consider whether the policy violates the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses.


Our cases have long recognized the preeminent role of the Federal Government with respect to the regulation of aliens within our borders. See, e. g., Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67 (1976); Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, 377-380 (1971); Takahashi v. Fish & Game Comm'n, 334 U.S. 410, 418-420 (1948); Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, 62-68 (1941); Truax v. Raich, 239 U.S. 33, 42 (1915). Federal authority to regulate the status of aliens derives from various sources, including the Federal Government's power "[to] establish [a] uniform Rule of Naturalization," U.S. Const., Art. I, § 8, cl. 4, its power "[to] regulate Commerce with foreign Nations", id., cl. 3, and its broad authority over foreign affairs, see United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304, 318 (1936); Mathews v. Diaz, supra, at 81, n. 17; Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, 342 U.S. 580, 588-589 (1952).

Not surprisingly, therefore, our cases have also been at pains to note the substantial limitations upon the authority of the States in making classifications based upon alienage. In Takahashi v. Fish & Game Comm'n, supra, we considered a California statute that precluded aliens who were "ineligible for citizenship under federal law" from obtaining commercial fishing licenses, even though they "met all other state requirements" and were lawful inhabitants of the State. 334 U.S., at 414.*fn15 In seeking to defend the statute, the State

[ 458 U.S. Page 11]

     argued that it had "simply followed the Federal Government's lead" in classifying certain persons as "ineligible for citizenship." Id., at 418. We rejected the argument, stressing the delicate nature of the federal-state relationship in regulating aliens:

"The Federal Government has broad constitutional powers in determining what aliens shall be admitted to the United States, the period they may remain, regulation of their conduct before naturalization, and the terms and conditions of their naturalization. Under the Constitution the states are granted no such powers; they can neither add to nor take from the conditions lawfully imposed by Congress upon admission, naturalization and residence of aliens in the United States or the several states. State laws which impose discriminatory burdens upon the entrance or residence of aliens lawfully within the United States conflict with this constitutionally derived federal power to regulate immigration, and have accordingly been held invalid." Id., at 419 (emphasis added) (citation and footnote omitted).*fn16

[ 458 U.S. Page 12]

     The decision in Graham v. Richardson, supra, followed directly from Takahashi. In Graham we held that a State may not withhold welfare benefits from resident aliens "merely because of their alienage." 403 U.S., at 378. Such discrimination, the Court concluded, would not only violate the Equal Protection Clause, but would also encroach upon federal authority over lawfully admitted aliens. In support of the latter conclusion, the Court noted that Congress had "not seen fit to impose any burden or restriction on aliens who become indigent after their entry into the United States," id., at 377, but rather had chosen to afford "lawfully admitted resident aliens . . . the full and equal benefit of all state laws for the security of persons and property," id., at 378. The States had thus imposed an "auxiliary [burden] upon the entrance or residence of aliens" that was never contemplated by Congress. Id., at 379.

Read together, Takahashi and Graham stand for the broad principle*fn17 that "state regulation not congressionally sanctioned

[ 458 U.S. Page 13]

     that discriminates against aliens lawfully admitted to the country is impermissible if it imposes additional burdens not contemplated by Congress." De Canas v. Bica, 424 U.S. 351, 358, n. 6 (1976).*fn18 To be sure, when Congress has done nothing more than permit a class of aliens to enter the country temporarily, the proper application of the principle is likely to be a matter of some dispute. But the instant case does not present such a situation, and there can be little doubt regarding the invalidity of the challenged portion of the University's in-state policy.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 66 Stat. 163, as amended, 8 U. S. C. § 1101 et seq. (1976 ed. and Supp. IV), represents "a comprehensive and complete code covering all aspects of admission of aliens to this country, whether for business or pleasure, or as immigrants seeking to become permanent residents." Elkins v. Moreno, 435 U.S., at 664. The Act recognizes two basic classes of aliens, immigrant and nonimmigrant.*fn19 With respect to the nonimmigrant class,

[ 458 U.S. Page 14]

     the Act establishes various categories, the G-4 category among them. For many of these nonimmigrant categories, Congress has precluded the covered alien from establishing domicile in the United States. Id., at 665.*fn20 But significantly, Congress has allowed G-4 aliens -- employees of various international organizations, and their immediate families -- to enter the country on terms permitting the establishment of domicile in the United States. Id., at 666. In light of Congress' explicit decision not to bar G-4 aliens from acquiring domicile, the State's decision to deny "in-state" status to G-4 aliens, solely on account of the G-4 alien's federal immigration status, surely amounts to an ancillary "burden not contemplated by Congress" in admitting these aliens to the United States. We need not rely, however, simply on Congress' decision to permit the G-4 alien to establish domicile in this country; the Federal Government has also taken the additional affirmative step of conferring special tax privileges on G-4 aliens.

As a result of an array of treaties, international agreements, and federal statutes, G-4 visaholders employed by the international organizations described in 8 U. S. C. § 1101(a)(15)(G)(iv) are relieved of federal and, in many instances, state and local taxes on the salaries paid by the organizations. For example, the international agreements governing the international banks for which the parents of the named respondents are employed specifically exempt the parents from all taxes on their organizational salaries. See Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Art. VII, § 9(b), 60 Stat. 1458, T. I. A. S. No. 1502 (1945) ("No tax shall be levied on or in respect of salaries and emoluments paid by the Bank to executive

[ 458 U.S. Page 15]

     directors, alternates, officials or employees of the Bank who are not local citizens, local subjects, or other local nationals"); Agreement Establishing the Inter-American Development Bank, Art. XI, § 9(b), [1959] 10 U. S. T. 3029, 3096, T. I. A. S. No. 4397 (1959) ("No tax shall be levied on or in respect of salaries and emoluments paid by the Bank to . . . employees of the Bank who are not local citizens or other local nationals").*fn21 Not only have some of the specific tax exemptions contained in international agreements been incorporated into a federal statute, see 22 U. S. C. § 286h, but also the International Organizations Immunities Act has explicitly afforded a federal tax exemption for those G-4 visaholders employed by international organizations for which no treaty or international agreement has provided a tax exemption for foreign employees.*fn22 § 4(b), 59 Stat. 670, reenacted, 68A Stat. 284, as § 893 of the Internal Revenue

[ 458 U.S. Page 16]

     Code of 1954, 26 U. S. C. § 893 ("Wages, fees, or salary of any employee [except citizens of the United States and of the Republic of the Philippines] of . . . an international organization . . . , received as compensation for official services to such . . . international organization shall not be included in gross income and shall be exempt from [federal] taxation").

In affording G-4 visaholders such tax exemption, the Federal Government has undoubtedly sought to benefit the employing international organizations by enabling them to pay salaries not encumbered by the full panoply of taxes, thereby lowering the organizations' costs. See 41 Op. Atty. Gen. 170, 172-173 (1954). The tax benefits serve as an inducement for these organizations to locate significant operations in the United States. See, e. g., H. R. Rep. No. 1203, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., 2-3 (1945); S. Rep. No. 861, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., 2-3 (1945). By imposing on those G-4 aliens who are domiciled in Maryland higher tuition and fees than are imposed on other domicilaries of the State, the University's policy frustrates these federal policies. Petitioners' very argument in this Court only buttresses this conclusion. One of the grounds on which petitioners have sought to justify the discriminatory burden imposed on the named respondents is that the salaries their parents receive from the international banks for which they work are exempt from Maryland income tax. Indeed, petitioners suggest that the "dollar differential . . . at stake here [is] an amount roughly equivalent to the amount of state income tax an international bank parent is spared by treaty each year." Brief for Petitioners 23 (footnote omitted). But to the extent this is indeed a justification for the University's policy with respect to the named respondents, it is an impermissible one: The State may not recoup indirectly from respondents' parents the taxes that the Federal Government has expressly barred the State from collecting.*fn23

[ 458 U.S. Page 17]

     In sum, the Federal Government has not merely admitted G-4 aliens into the country; it has also permitted them to establish domicile and afforded significant tax exemptions on organizational salaries. In such circumstances, we cannot conclude that Congress ever contemplated that a State, in the operation of a university, might impose discriminatory tuition charges and fees solely on account of the federal immigration classification.*fn24 We therefore conclude that insofar as it bars ...

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