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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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