Goldberg v. Kelly

397 U.S. 254 (1970)


P's filed suit against the state and city alleging that they were going to terminate welfare benefits without notice and hearing. The state and the city then responded in an attempt to settle the lawsuit with a set of rules regarding the termination of benefits and a hearing after the fact of administrative official determination had been made. P's challenged the new regulations. Prior to termination, there was no opportunity for a hearing and ability for a personal appearance or oral presentation. The District Court held that only a pretermination evidentiary hearing would satisfy the constitutional command. The Court reasoned that a welfare recipient is destitute and without funds or assets and that to cut off funds in the face of a brutal need without a prior hearing of some sort was unconscionable.