San Jose, CA – Today, a federal court rejected the Department of Commerce’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Public Counsel, along with law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips represented the City of San Jose and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) in this matter. Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law offered the following statement:
“We are pleased that the Court has explicitly rejected Secretary Ross’ blatant attempt to suppress immigrant and minority participation in the upcoming Census” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “In no uncertain terms, the plaintiffs have proved that the justification given for the addition of the citizenship question was nothing more than a pretext to carry out the Trump Administration’s racist agenda.”
San Jose and BAJI filed this lawsuit in April 2018, immediately after Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that the 2020 decennial census would include a question asking the citizenship status of every respondent. The addition of the citizenship question could drastically lower the participation rates for immigrants, both legal and undocumented, out of fear that the government would use the information for deportation. The lawsuit claimed that the addition of question was arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), and challenged the question’s constitutionality under the Enumeration Clause and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Court found not only that Secretary Ross’s decision was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, but also violated the Enumeration Clause of the United States Constitution. As a result, the Court permanently enjoined implementation of the citizenship question in the 2020 Census.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
Reynolds Graves, Lawyers’ Committee, RGraves@LawyersCommittee.org, 202-662-8375