Citizens’ right to move into, out of, among, and within states, foreign nations, and lesser political and geographic entities.
The right to travel has been long recognized in Anglo-American law. An article of England’s Magna Carta (1215) recognized the right to foreign travel. The Articles of Confederation expressly guaranteed “free ingress and egress” from one state to another because the nation’s founders recognized that freedom of interstate movement follows from the recognition of nationhood. However, although the right to travel was an implicit right during the founding and settling of the American colonies and the westward expansion, it was not explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution.
The modern right to travel has its roots in the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the commerce clause
For much of U.S. history, issues surrounding the right to travel were linked to the enslavement of African Americans.
In Edwards v. California
In later cases, the Court struck down other durational residency requirements as violations of the fundamental right to travel. In Memorial Hospital v. Maricopa County
In 1999 the Court affirmed the right to travel. In Saenz v. Roe
Most important, in Saenz, the Court returned to the Slaughterhouse Cases to say that the rights of newly arrived citizens are protected by their status as both state and U.S. citizens, which are plainly identified in the Fourteenth Amendment privileges and immunities clause. The Court emphasized that because the right to travel embraces a citizen’s right to be treated equally in his or her new state of residence, a discriminatory classification is itself a penalty. The Court drew upon Zobel v. Williams
State durational residency requirements are permitted if a compelling government interest has been demonstrated. In Dunn v. Blumstein
The government may seek to restrict citizens from traveling between the United States and specified foreign nations, if the restrictions are not based on the beliefs of the citizens seeking to travel. In Aptheker v. Secretary of State
Aleinikoff, Thomas Alexander. Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002. Cohen, William. “Equal Treatment for Newcomers: The Core Meaning of National and State Citizenship.” Constitutional Commentary 1 (1984): 9-19. Fried, Charles. Saying What the Law Is: The Constitution in the Supreme Court. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004. Kahn, Ronald. The Supreme Court and Constitutional Theory, 1953-1993. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994. Labb, Ronald M., and Jonathan Lurie. The Slaughterhouse Cases: Regulation, Reconstruction, and the Fourteenth Amendment. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003. Poppe, Matthew. “Defining the Scope of the Equal Protection Clause with Respect to Welfare Waiting Periods.” University of Chicago Law Review 61 (1994): 291-323. Porter, Andrew C. “Toward a Constitutional Right to Intrastate Travel.” Northwestern University Law Review 86 (1992): 820-857.
Aptheker v. Secretary of State
Commerce, regulation of
Edwards v. California
Privileges and immunities
Shapiro v. Thompson