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ROE v. NORTON, 422 U.S. 391 (1975)

U.S. Supreme Court

ROE v. NORTON, 422 U.S. 391 (1975)

422 U.S. 391

ROE ET AL. v. NORTON, COMMISSIONER OF WELFARE.
APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
CONNECTICUT.
No. 73-6033.

Argued February 25, 1975.
Decided June 24, 1975.

A three-judge District Court's judgment upholding the constitutionality of a Connecticut statute that requires the mother of an illegitimate child receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) assistance to disclose the putative father's name and imposing a criminal sanction for noncompliance, and concluding that the statute does not conflict with the Social Security Act, is vacated and the case is remanded for further consideration in light of an intervening Social Security Act amendment requiring parents, as a condition of eligibility for AFDC assistance, to cooperate with state efforts to locate and obtain support from absent parents but providing no punitive sanctions, and, also, if a relevant state criminal proceeding is pending, in light of Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 , and Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592 .

365 F. Supp. 65, vacated and remanded.

Frank Cochran argued the cause and filed briefs for parent appellants. David N. Rosen argued the cause for children appellants. With him on the brief was Edward J. Dolan.

Michael Anthony Arcari, Assistant Attorney General of Connecticut, argued the cause for appellee. With him on the brief were Robert K. Killian, Attorney General. and Paige J. Everin, Lorna M. Dwyer, and Francis J. MacGregor, Assistant Attorneys General. *  

[ Footnote * ] Marian Wright Edelman, Norman Dorsen, and Leo Pfeffer filed a brief for the American Academy of Child Psychiatry et al. as amici curiae. [422 U.S. 391, 392]  

PER CURIAM.

Appellants, mothers of illegitimate children receiving Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) assistance, and the children, commenced this action challenging 52-440b, Conn. Gen. Stat. Rev. (1973), * which requires the mother of an illegitimate child to divulge to designated officials the name of the putative father of the child. Noncompliance with the statute is a contempt punishable by imprisonment up to one year and a fine of up to $200. A three-judge District Court upheld the constitutionality of 52-440b against appellants' claims of denial of due process and equal protection and invasion of appellants' right to privacy, and also concluded that the statute did not conflict with the purpose and objectives of the Social Security Act. We noted probable jurisdiction, 415 U.S. 912 (1974). However, since that time Pub. L. 93-647, 88 Stat. 2337, was enacted. [422 U.S. 391, 393]   Public L. 93-647 amends 402 (a) of the Social Security Act to require parents, as a condition of eligibility for AFDC assistance, to cooperate with state efforts to locate and obtain support from absent parents but provides no punitive sanctions comparable to those provided by Conn. Gen. Stat. Rev. 52-440b (1973). Section 402 (a), as amended, 88 Stat. 2359, 42 U.S.C. 602 (a) (1970 ed., Supp. IV), provides in pertinent part:

We vacate the judgment of the District Court and remand the case for further consideration in light of Pub. L. 93-647, and, if a relevant state criminal proceeding [422 U.S. 391, 394]   is pending, also for further consideration in light of Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), and Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592 (1975).

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS concurs except with respect to Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), and Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592 (1975).

[ Footnote * ] Section 52-440b, Conn. Gen. Stat. Rev., provides:

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