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2020 Census Litigation

The Brennan Center for Justice fights in court to ensure the vital census count is done fairly and accurately.


Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count —  the census — of all the people living in the coun­try. The U.S. Consti­tu­tion requires the govern­ment to count every adult and child, citizens and noncit­izens. The census count not only determ­ines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Repres­ent­at­ives but also affects how and where federal, state, and local govern­ments alloc­ate funds for educa­tion, social services, infra­struc­ture, and more. 

Despite its vital import­ance, the 2020 Census faced a myriad of risks. These risks included efforts to add an untested citizen­ship ques­tion to the census form, other attempts to produce citizenship data for purposes of removing undocumented persons from the count, and a last-minute rush to speed up counting and data-processing.

The Bren­nan Center and others mobil­ized to address these risks through legal action in the federal courts. This litigation resul­ted in victories that stopped the citizen­ship ques­tion, halted the rush of counting and data-processing operations, and shed light on the Trump administration’s plans to manipulate the census. In addi­tion to parti­cip­at­ing in these and other cases, we tracked major devel­op­ments in the key litigation to keep the public informed.

Litigation About the 2020 Census

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