Supreme Court sends Census 2020 Citizenship Question Case Back to Lower Court

Today the Supreme Court ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s stated rationale for adding a citizenship question to the upcoming decennial Census 2020 was a pretext, and sent the case back to the federal district court in New York for further proceedings.

As we’ve written  previously, experts both inside and outside of the Census Bureau have no doubt that adding a citizenship question to Census 2020 will result in an undercount of the U.S. population, and the stakes in this case are high – affecting representation in Congress, federal funding apportionment, and business decisions.

The Commerce Department has stated repeatedly that it must begin printing the actual Census 2020 questionnaires in July 2019.  If that is a hard deadline, the clock may simply run out on the government’s ability to add the citizenship question to Census 2020.  But others have stated that October is the hard deadline, and in any case, the controversy will continue, unless the government decides no longer to pursue adding the question.

You can find a brief summary of the interesting case history and the ruling at SCOTUS Blog.