The Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 last week to waive its opportunity to deside if the University of Maryland's tuition and other fees can be higher for non-immigrant aliens who have lived in the state for years than for Marylanders whose permanent residence in the U.S.
The justices sent the case to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, to get an answer to a central question in the case - a question which is "purely a matter of state law."
The question before the court was whether a person with a G-4 visa (the kind issued to employes of international organizations, such as the World Bank, and to their families) can establish a legal residence in Maryland under present state law.
The case centers on the preference the University of Maryland, like all state universities, gives students with "in state" status.
The university contended that there was an "irrebuttable presumption" that students with G-4 visas, who are subject to deportation, cannot acquire an official residence in Maryland.
U.S. District Court Judge James R. Miller Jr. had ruled earlier that the university policy infringed on the constitutional guarantee of due process of law by relying solely on the presumption to deny G-4 students the opportunity to establish in-state status. The 4th U.S. District Court of Appeals affirmed.
The litigation was initiated by three students who have lived in Maryland since early childhood, have declared an intention to live nowhere else, have filed federal and state income-tax returns and have paid state sales and other taxes.