June 30, 2019 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomes the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Department of Commerce v. New York, which—at least for the time being—bars the inclusion of a question of citizenship in the 2020 United States Census.
As the Court rightly noted, the Administration’s justification for including such a question was undercut by “a significant mismatch between their decision [to include a question about citizenship] and the rationale provided.”
AJC’s brief, challenging the inclusion of a citizenship question, pointed out the consequence of such a question would be a substantial malapportionment of legislatures and federal funds. This census will determine the allocation of $800 billion in federal funds and guide congressional representation and districting. Inaccurate counts would lead certain areas to be both underfunded and underrepresented in Congress. Because the census only happens once every ten years, these errors would not be able to be corrected for a decade.
“Although cloaked in the dry language of administrative law, and regrettably not conclusive on the inclusion of a citizenship question, the practical result is that in 2020 there likely cannot be such a question,” said AJC General Counsel Marc Stern. “That’s truly good news. Whatever door may have been left open by the Court is a door the Commerce Department should not walk through.”