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    Court Filings & Opinions Democracy & Voting Rights

    California vs. Ross

    The Commerce Department decided to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, which the State of California challenged.


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    The Commerce Department decided to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, which the State of California challenged.

     

    Overview:

    The State of California filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, when the Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census came out. Secretary Ross justified the addition of the citizenship question by alleging that it would help the Census acquire more “complete and accurate data” and relied on the Voting Rights Act to enforce it. On the other side, California had argued that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census would prevent many individuals and families from participating in the Census. People would be afraid to answer this question which will then lead to less responses, which would have a big effect on states with big immigrant populations like California. Consequently, having significantly less responses would lead to fewer congressional seats and significant loss in federal funding. Thus, California claimed that in adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, it was violating the United States Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Enumeration Clause. On March 6, 2020, the District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered the Commerce Department to remove the Citizenship question from the 2020 Census.