Lexis Nexis - Case Brief

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Law School Case Brief

Foley v. Connelie - 435 U.S. 291, 98 S. Ct. 1067 (1978)


Citizenship may be a relevant qualification for fulfilling those important nonelective executive, legislative, and judicial positions, held by officers who participate directly in the formulation, execution, or review of broad public policy.


Foley sought a declaratory judgment that the state's exclusion of aliens from its police force violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court concluded that the state's obligation to preserve the political community included reserving the right to govern to citizens.


Is the exclusion of alien from police force violative of the Fourth Amendment?




The Supreme Court of the United States affirmed a judgment holding that the challenged law, which excluded aliens from the state police force, was constitutional. The broad powers vested in police officers affected members of the public significantly, and often in the most sensitive areas of life. Police officers very clearly participated directly in the execution of broad public policy. The police function was one where citizenship bore a rational relationship to the special demands of the particular position. Therefore, a state could restrict the performance of this important public responsibility to citizens.

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