Supreme Court Will Hear Challenges To Census Questions Regarding Citizenship

The Supreme Court of the United States decided on Friday it would discuss whether or not additional questions regarding citizenship should be added to the census in 2020. The case arguments will take place in April.

The case now belongs to the Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals and has been fast-tracked to make a decision possible before the printing of census forms in June. The Washington Post and the National law Journal each received copies of the cert grant.

Jesse Furman, U.S. District Judge in Manhattan, found a month ago Wilber Ross, Secretary of Commerce, violated the Administrative Procedure Act when he added citizenship questions to the census format.

Furman asserted Ross disregarded statutes involving data collection and the necessity to provide Congress with notice of actions. Furman went on to say the Secretary acted in an arbitrary fashion intended to conceal the true intent of his actions. However, Furman ruled no violation of due process took place since it was not proven Ross intended to discriminate against minorities or individuals who were not citizens of the United States.

Ross explained the questions were being added to the census in order to provide the higher level of citizenship data requested by the Department of Justice. The data is needed, according to Ross and the Department, to support efforts to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Furman stated his belief that Ross solicited the request from the Department of Justice for reasons already possessed by the Secretary.

There have been two lawsuits filed in the case, reports Bloomberg. One was filed by 18 states and several county and city municipalities. The second lawsuit included several advocacy groups for immigrant causes as plaintiffs. The two lawsuits have been consolidated into one for the case.

The lawsuits argue the additional questions will cause immigrants to be more reluctant to participate in the census process. Plaintiffs believe this will reduce the number of immigrants counted on the census.

The House of Representatives has supported the plaintiffs and filed an Amicus Brief in a demonstration of this support. The House explains an inaccurate account will have a direct effect on the allocation of federal dollars to the states, as well as, House representation for states.

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