Soskin v. Reinertson

Criminal Justice | Immigrants’ Rights | Racial Justice
Case No. 03-RB-529, United States District Court, District of Colorado; No. 03-1162, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
ACLU Case No. 2003-01


On March 5, 2003, Governor Owens signed Senate Bill 03-176, which terminates Medicaid benefits to approximately 3500 indigent legal immigrants. Before the cuts could take effect on April 1, the ACLU and other organizations filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Colorado violates the Equal Protection Clause by terminating benefits to legal immigrants while continuing to provide medical assistance to similarly-situated citizens. The suit further alleges that in their haste to implement the new statute as soon as possible, state officials have failed to follow procedures that are required by the federal Medicaid statute and the Due Process Clause. These procedures are designed to ensure that individuals who remain eligible even under the new restrictions are not mistakenly cut off.

The federal court issued a temporary restraining order blocking the law on April 1, but it lifted the order on April 16. The ACLU filed an immediate appeal, and on April 25, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary injunction blocking the cuts once again. The Tenth Circuit then expedited the appeal and heard oral argument on May 7. In a 2-1 decision handed down in January, 2004, the Tenth Circuit rejected the plaintiffs' equal protection arguments while agreeing that certain of the State's termination procedures were defective.


Attorneys from the ACLU Immigrants Rights Project
Attorneys from the National Health Law Program
Attorneys from the National Immigration Law Center
Attorneys from the Welfare Law Center
Gregory Piche
Mark Silverstein , ACLU of Colorado Legal Director

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