Anderson v. Edwards, 514 U.S. 143, 7 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 143 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

trict Court for the Eastern District of California. Pursuant to Rev. Stat. 1979, 42 U. S. C. 1983, respondents sought a declaration that the California Rule violates federal law and an injunction prohibiting petitioners from enforcing it. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the District Court granted the requested relief. It found the California Rule indistinguishable in relevant respects from the Washington regulation invalidated in Beaton v. Thompson, 913 F. 2d 701 (CA9 1990).

In a brief opinion, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. It found the California Rule "virtually identical" to the Washington regulation that Beaton had held to be "inconsistent with federal law and regulation." Edwards v. Healy, 12 F. 3d 154, 155 (1993). Since the Court of Appeals issued its decision, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—which administers the AFDC program on the federal level—determined that its own AFDC regulations "do not conflict with the State policy option to consolidate assistance units in the same household." Transmittal No. ACF-AT-94-6 (Mar. 16, 1994), App. to Pet. for Cert. 37. Moreover, a number of Federal Courts of Appeals and state courts of last resort have recently issued rulings at odds with the decision below.3 We granted certiorari to resolve this conflict, 512 U. S. 1288 (1994), and we now reverse.


In Beaton, the Ninth Circuit ruled that grouping into the same AU all needy children (both siblings and non-siblings alike) who live in the same household is inconsistent with three different federal AFDC regulations, namely, 45 CFR 233.20(a)(2)(viii), 233.20(a)(3)(ii)(D), and 233.90(a)(1)

3 See Bray v. Dowling, 25 F. 3d 135 (CA2 1994) (New York policy), cert. pending, No. 94-5845; Wilkes v. Gomez, 32 F. 3d 1324 (CA8 1994) (Minnesota rule), cert. pending, No. 94-6929; MacInnes v. Commissioner of Public Welfare, 412 Mass. 790, 593 N. E. 2d 222 (1992); Morrell v. Flaherty, 338 N. C. 230, 449 S. E. 2d 175 (1994).


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