The State of Illinois operated a program of Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD). Illinois received matching federal dollars for the program and agreed to comply with federal regulations governing the program. These federal regulations required an applicant’s eligibility to be determined and the first check to be delivered within 45 days of the date of an application. Illinois generally took up to four months to make the eligibility determination and paid benefits beginning with the month of the determination. Jordan was a recipient of benefits under the program and sued Weaver (defendant), the director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid for violating the federal regulations and for violating the Equal Protection Clause. The trial court entered a permanent injunction requiring Illinois to comply with the federal regulations in the future. The trial court also ordered the state officials to pay all benefits wrongfully withheld since the implementation of the federal regulations. Weaver appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which affirmed. Edelman (defendant) replaced Weaver as the director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid and petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.