Sugarman v. Dougall

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In Sugarman v. Dougall, 413 U.S. 634, 642 (1973), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the State's interest "in establishing its own form of government, and in limiting participation in that government to those who are within 'the basic conception of a political community'" might justify some requirements based on alienage.

The Court then held to be unconstitutional this New York law:

"Except as herein otherwise provided, no person shall be eligible for appointment for any position in the competitive class unless he is a citizen of the United States."

However, in Sugarman the Court had in mind a State's historical and constitutional powers to define the qualifications of voters, or of "elective or important nonelective" officials "who participate directly in the formulation, execution, or review of broad public policy." Id. at 647, 648.

In re Griffiths, decided the same day, reflects the narrowness of the exception. In that case, despite a recognition of the vital public and political role of attorneys, the Court found invalid a state-court rule limiting the practice of law to citizens. 413 U.S. at 729.