Upholding a state law that discriminated against aliens, the Supreme Court in the Foley decision departed from a previous decision based on strict scrutiny, thereby making it much more likely that similar policies would be upheld.
A legally admitted resident alien, Edmund Foley applied for a position as a New York State trooper. A state law, however, provided that only U.S. citizens could be appointed to the state’s police force. When Foley was denied the right to take the competitive examination, he went to court to argue that the law violated the
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court emphasized that the states had exercised a “historical power to exclude aliens from participation in its democratic political institutions,” and that the police function was “one of the basic functions of government.” In contrast to the landmark precedent case
Bosniak, Linda. The Citizen and the Alien: Dilemmas of Contemporary Membership. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2008. Epstein, Lee, and Thomas Walker. Constitutional Law for a Changing America: Rights, Liberties, and Justice. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2006.
Bernal v. Fainter
Supreme Court, U.S.