Matthews v. Diaz

1975-1976: Mr. Justice Stevens held that Congress may condition an alien’s eligibility for participation in a federal medical insurance program on continuous residence in the United States for a five-year period and admission for permanent residence, and this classification does not deprive aliens of liberty or property without due process of law. Justice Stevens asserts that “for a host of constitutional and statutory provisions rest on the premise that a legitimate distinction between citizens and aliens may justify attributes and benefits for one class not accorded to the other; and the class of aliens is itself a heterogeneous multitude of persons with a wide-ranging variety of ties to this country. In the exercise of its broad power over naturalization and immigration, Congress regularly makes rules that would be unacceptable if applied to citizens…The fact that an Act of Congress treats aliens differently from citizens does not in itself imply that such disparate treatment is ‘invidious.’ ”