University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Doe v. Trump PB-IL-0014
Docket / Court 1:20-CV-02531 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action filed on April 24 against the U.S. government to challenge the Exclusion Provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as a temporary restraining order (TRO) ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action filed on April 24 against the U.S. government to challenge the Exclusion Provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as a temporary restraining order (TRO). On July 7, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case against all defendants other than the United States of America. No outcome yet.


On April 24, 2020, an individual married to a spouse without a social security number (SSN) filed this putative class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government to challenge the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The plaintiff alleged that the social security number requirement violated the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution including the right of association, the right to due process of law, and the right to equal protection. The plaintiff also claimed to have suffered substantial mental pain and suffering and severe emotional distress and injury and included a claim of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. The plaintiffs filed this action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and were represented by private attorneys. The plaintiff’s proposed class sought to include all U.S. citizens married to a spouse without an SSN, and who filed joint tax returns with immigrants who would otherwise qualify. The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief enjoining the enforcement of the CARES provision at issue. The plaintiff also sought attorney fees and class certification, and also requested a jury trial. The case was assigned to District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.

On March 27, President Trump announced the CARES Act aimed to provide emergency assistance and health care response to individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act authorized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to distribute $1200.00 to each eligible individual who is U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or qualifying residing aliens with a valid SSN. Under Section 6428, or the Exclusion Provision, the applicant was also required to provide a “valid identification number,” or, an SSN of their spouse on their tax returns. The plaintiff, married to an immigrant with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) but without an SSN, did not qualify for the Advance Payment. There are 1.2 million Americans married to immigrants who do not hold Social Security numbers.

The plaintiff argued that her exclusion from eligibility on the basis of her choice to marry a non-citizen was a violation of her First Amendment rights. Moreover, the plaintiff alleged that the Exclusion clause was against the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments as it infringed her fundamental choice to marry whom she wished, and discrimination based on the fundamental right to marry is presumptively unconstitutional and subject to strict scrutiny. The plaintiff also argued that Section 6428 was not narrowly tailored to advance a compelling government interest, no rationally related to any legitimate government interest.

On April 27, the plaintiff submitted an amended complaint, adding that the Act violated the penumbra of privacy rights under the First, Third, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, but removing the claim of emotional distress. On April 30, the plaintiff filed a motion for a TRO. The defendants opposed the motion on May 18, claiming that the court has no jurisdiction and the plaintiff fails to state a claim. They also argued that the plaintiff will not suffer irreparable injury because monetary relief would remedy the alleged harm and that the plaintiff has non-equitable remedies because the plaintiff may claim a credit under the CARES ACT by filing a tax return separately from their spouse.

On July 7, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case against all defendants other than the United States of America, as the lawsuit is a constitutionality challenge requesting equitable relief, for which they argue United States alone is the proper defendant.

The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 07/12/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Family discrimination
Immigration status
General
Disparate Treatment
Marriage
Public assistance grants
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Senator and Sponsor of the CARES Act
Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury
President of the United States
Plaintiff Description an individual married to a spouse without a social security number on behalf of all U.S. citizens married to a spouse without an SSN, and who filed joint tax returns with immigrants who would otherwise qualify for an Advance Credit
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 04/24/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-WI-0004 : Does v. Trump (E.D. Wis.)
PB-CA-0055 : Doe v. Trump (C.D. Cal.)
PB-WI-0005 : Does v. Trump (W.D. Wis.)
Docket(s)
1:20-cv-2531 (N.D. Ill.)
PB-IL-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-IL-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 11]
PB-IL-0014-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and/or Declaratory Judgment [ECF# 13 (incl. 13-1 to 13-4)]
PB-IL-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 20]
PB-IL-0014-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/02/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
United States' Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff's Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and/or Declaratory Judgment [ECF# 22]
PB-IL-0014-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Reply in Support of his Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and/or Declaratory Judgment [ECF# 25 (incl. 25-1 to 25-5)]
PB-IL-0014-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss Claims Against All Defendants Other Than the United States [ECF# 44, 45]
PB-IL-0014-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Coleman, Sharon Johnson (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abuzir, Omar A (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Blaise, Heather Lea (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Gavin, Elisabeth Anne (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Khalaf, Vivian R (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Moore, Guinevere Marie (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Nassar, Lana B (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0003 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-0006 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Nitschke, Thomas John (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0001 | PB-IL-0014-0002 | PB-IL-0014-0004 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Konig, Jordan Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0005 | PB-IL-0014-0007 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Williamson, Christopher James (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0005 | PB-IL-0014-0007 | PB-IL-0014-9000
Zuckerman, Richard E (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-IL-0014-0005 | PB-IL-0014-0007

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