Washington, D.C. – Today the United States Supreme Court heard 90 minutes of argument in one of the current term’s most consequential cases, Department of Commerce v. New York, et al, a challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Following the argument, Kristen Clarke President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement:
“The argument made clear that Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add the citizenship question defies science, evidence and data. The judicial and administrative record in this case demonstrates that the citizenship question would result in a significant undercount among communities of color. Overwhelming evidence was laid to bare for the justices demonstrating that facilitating enforcement of the Voting Rights Act was a mere pretextual justification for action that would otherwise jeopardize the ability to capture a fair and accurate count of the population. As Justice Sotomayor observed, this was a ‘solution in search of a problem.”
Clarke continued, “In many respects, the Court’s ruling in this case may also shape the legacy of the Roberts Court for years to come. While some justices stretched to find reasons outside the record to preserve the citizenship question, with 2 justices going so far as to reference the practice of other countries, any faithful examination of the record in this case could lead to only one reasonable conclusion — the question must be struck.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law secured a favorable ruling from a federal district court in California that found the citizenship question both unlawful and unconstitutional. The lawsuit was on behalf of the City of San Jose and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. The Lawyers’ Committee filed an amicus brief on April 17, 2018, that argued that the citizenship question violated the Enumeration Clause of the United States Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act. You can read the amicus brief here.
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