Second Federal Court Blocks Citizenship Question on Census 2020

On March 6, 2019, a federal court in California enjoined the Department of Commerce from adding a question about citizenship status on the 2020 decennial census.

As we’ve written previously, the decennial census is designed to count all persons residing in the U.S. regardless of their legal status.  An undercount can impact apportionment of federal funding, as well as the number of a state’s representatives in Congress.

As a practical matter, the California federal court’s decision has little effect.  A prior decision by a federal court in New York had already blocked the addition of the citizenship question to the Census 2020 questionnaire.  That decision has  been accepted for review by the Supreme Court, and oral arguments will be heard in April, 2019.