A New York state statute prohibited aliens from being employed as civil servants in the competitive class. This prohibition applied to a wide range of positions, though not to elected offices or higher offices in state agencies. Several New York resident aliens who were discharged from civil-service positions on the basis of their alienage (plaintiffs) brought an action against the administrator of the New York City Human Resources Administration (defendant), challenging the constitutionality of the statute. A three-judge panel of the district court held that the statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment and the Supremacy Clause. The United States Supreme Court noted probable jurisdiction to review the case.