In 1980, the legislature of the state of Alaska established a program to apportion dividends of mineral income among state residents. The program based the amount that each resident would receive upon the number of years the individual had resided in the state dating back to the 1959 establishment of Alaska’s statehood. Zobel (plaintiff) had resided in Alaska since 1978. Zobel filed suit in state court asserting that the distribution of dividends based on length of residency violated the Equal Protection Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The state supreme court validated the law. Zobel petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.