42 U.S.C.A. § 402(t), for termination of benefits payable under the Act to any alien beneficiary who had resided outside the United States for more than six months.
Of greater moment here is the fact that Congress, in enacting legislation providing for federal contributions to state-administered public assistance programs, provided that states may establish a one-year residence eligibility requirement.
Thirty-nine states of the Union have enacted a one-year residence requirement as a condition of eligibility to qualify for public assistance grants to needy families with children, similar to the Pennsylvania provision, and Congress has done so in the District of Columbia Public Assistance Act of 1962.
The one-year residence requirement in the Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and District of Columbia acts has been ruled unconstitutional by three-judge District Courts in 1967: Thompson v. Shapiro, 270 F. Supp. 331 (D.Conn.); Green v. Department of Public Welfare, 270 F. Supp. 173 (D.Del.); Smith v. Reynolds, 277 F. Supp. 65 (E.D.Pa.); Harrell v. Tobriner, 279 F. Supp. 22 (D.D.C.). The court was unanimous only in Green ; dissenting opinions were filed in the other cases cited. It may be noted that the writer of this opinion dissented in Smith v. Reynolds, and that Chief Judge Sheridan, who is here dissenting, was a member of the majority in that case.
We have taken into consideration the contrary views expressed in the foregoing cases. We can only say that the courts therein have substituted their judgment for that of the legislatures of forty states and the Congress of the United States as expressed in the enactment of the District of Columbia Public Assistance Act and Section 602(b), 42 U.S.C.A. of the Social Security Act, which, in providing for federal contributions to state-administered public assistance programs specified that states may establish a one-year residence eligibility requirement. We can only say that we regard the substitution of judicial judgment for that of legislative judgment as nothing less than judicial usurpation of the legislative function in disregard of the doctrine of separation of powers so firmly established since the founding of our Republic, and of the teaching of numerous decisions of the Supreme Court.
There remains this, too, to be said, with respect to the plaintiffs' asserted claim that the one-year residence eligibility requirement is unconstitutional because it abridges their right of freedom to travel from one state to another in contravention of the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution, Article I, Section 8.
In our opinion this claim is so specious and unfounded that it does not merit extended discussion. It is only necessary to say that the Pennsylvania statute does not prohibit travel into the Commonwealth, as evidenced by the fact that the plaintiffs in the instant case were freely permitted entry. The fact that the one-year eligibility requirement may operate to affect a decision to travel into Pennsylvania cannot by any stretch of the imagination be construed as a "statutory" bar to travel.
For the reasons stated we hold that the one-year residence requirement as a condition of eligibility for public assistance grants to needy families, provided by Section 432(6) of the Pennsylvania Public Welfare Code, Act of June 13, 1967, is constitutional. The plaintiffs' complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.