Is the 14th Amendment’s privileges or immunities clause coming back-after lying moribund for 126 years? That’s what the Supreme Court seemed to say last week in an opinion that could reverberate for years-and that would be good.

The question in Saenz v. Roe was whether California, pursuant to federal authority, could limit welfare payments to new residents for a year, paying the rate provided by their former states of residence, not the higher California rate. The rule was not meant to inhibit travel, the state said, which would be constitutionally impermissible, but to save money.

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