Rep. Maloney Applauds Court Ruling Against Addition of Citizenship Question to 2020 Census

Jan 15, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair of the House Census Caucus and author of the Census IDEA Act, released the following statement following the court decision in the New York State led lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to add a question on citizenship to the census. The Congresswoman led a Amicus Brief from 126 current and former Members of Congress in support of the State of NY, 17 other states and the District of Columbia in this case.

“This court ruling is a victory for democracy, the rule of law and the Constitutional requirement that every person living in this country is counted in the decennial census.

“We knew from the day Secretary Ross announced his decision to add a citizenship question to the census that this was never about voting rights, as the administration had claimed. It was always about politics and an attempt by the Trump Administration to rig the constitutionally mandated census for partisan gain. I am proud to have led an Amicus Brief of 126 current and former Members of Congress in support of this lawsuit and thrilled that the court agreed with our arguments today.

“This case also uncovered overwhelming evidence that Secretary Ross misled Congress about the process that led to the Administration’s decision to add a citizenship question and this requires further investigation by Congress.

“Today is a win for all Americans who believe in a fair, representative democracy, but the threat still remains. The Trump Administration will no doubt appeal this ruling.  That is why we need to pass my bill, the Census IDEA Act, as soon as possible so that the census cannot be manipulated for partisan politics and the American people get the accurate national statistics that help us better serve them. Our democracy depends on a full and accurate count of our nation and the Trump Administration cannot be allowed to compromise that.”

Background

The 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act will protect the integrity of the census, our nation’s largest peacetime undertaking, by making sure that topics and questions included in the census are properly vetted and not added at the last minute. Last minute additions endanger the accuracy of the census, response rates, and are likely to increase costs to the taxpayer due to the need for more in-person follow-up for households which do not respond to the census survey. The IDEA Act will help ensure the gathering of accurate, uncompromised census data.

The court case decided on January 15, State of NY vs. US Dept of Commerce, is a New York State-led case of 18 states and the District of Columbia against the Trump Administration to prevent the politicization of the 2020 Census with the inclusion of a citizenship question. The Amicus Brief submitted by the Congresswoman and 126 current and former Members of Congress argued that both Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment make clear that the census is intended to count all people residing in the United States both citizen and non-citizen alike. Despite the Secretary of Commerce’s authority to determine the “Manner” of taking the census, this authority does not give the Secretary power to do an “end-run” around his constitutional duty to count all persons. Furthermore, the addition of an untested citizenship question does not, in any way, advance any legitimate governmental interest. The brief can be read in full here.

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