Mass. Supreme Court Sets Bar High To Deny Immigrant Benefits

By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Advocates in Massachusetts are hailing a decision by the state’s highest court that sets a high bar for denying benefits to immigrants.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Friday that while the state constitution’s guarantee of protection against discrimination doesn’t explicitly extend to immigration status, any attempt to discriminate against legal immigrants will be held up to the strictest judicial scrutiny.

The decision came in a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of legal immigrants denied coverage under the state’s subsidized Commonwealth Care health plan.

Lawyers for the immigrants said the ruling will make it harder for the state to argue that a 2009 decision by lawmakers to block them from the program was constitutional.

The lawsuit, filed last year, now heads back to a single justice of the court.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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