Advancing Justice | AAJC Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Lower Court Ruling in Citizenship Question

Advancing Justice | AAJC Will Continue Fighting To Ensure All Our Communities Are Counted
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

June 27, 2019—Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision in the argument to allow or remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. Chief Justice Robert’s 5-4 opinion upheld the lower court’s decision asking the Department of Commerce to explain the decision to add the citizenship question with their real rationale. For now, the district court’s decision to block the addition of the citizenship question remains in effect.

Advancing Justice | AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC) and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) also sued the administration and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in May 2018 on behalf Latino and Asian American individuals, Native Americans, social service non-profits, state legislative associations, civil rights groups, voting rights organizations, and community partnerships that would be forced to divert resources to combat a potential severe undercount in their respective communities.

John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, had the following response to the Supreme Court decision: 

“We are gratified that the Court saw through the pretext offered by the Commerce Department regarding the need for the citizenship question.We are confident that the evidence will demonstrate that the Commerce Department wanted the inclusion of this question for improper, discriminatory reasons. We believe that the clock is running out and that the Commerce Department should abandon its efforts to include a citizenship question for Census 2020. But if it doesn’t, we will continue to fight to ensure that our communities are counted fully, and that includes robust litigation efforts. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in this country and we need this 2020 Census to count all of us. Let’s make sure the census reflects the true diversity of this country and ensure that we have fair and accurate access to the $800 billion allocated based on census data.”  

In addition to a successful claim under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) like the one the Supreme Court ruled upon today, the Advancing Justice | AAJC and MALDEF lawsuit included the unique allegation that the Trump administration officials and others intentionally conspired to deprive racial minorities of their constitutional rights by adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. A federal judge denied our intentional discrimination claim. Advancing Justice | AAJC and MALDEF appealed that ruling, arguing that the court erred because its own findings of fact as a matter of law compel the conclusion that the administration engaged in intentional discrimination. That case is currently in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The district court is also reviewing its earlier denial of the conspiracy claim following new evidence presented to the court this month.