Kravitz v. United States Dep't of Commerce
Residents of Maryland and Arizona are challenging the Department of Commerce’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The plaintiffs argue that the decision violates the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.
This case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
A group of individuals from Maryland and Arizona are suing the Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau over the Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The plaintiffs allege that the addition of the question will reduce census response rates and produce a disproportionate undercount in states with high numbers of certain demographic groups, including non-English speakers, people of Hispanic or Latino origin, and immigrants.
The plaintiffs contend that, because the citizenship question would produce an inaccurate and incomplete head count, the Commerce Department’s decision to add it violates the federal government’s constitutional requirement to conduct an “actual enumeration” of every person living in the country. The suit also claims that the department added the citizenship question without adequately assessing its likely impact on response rates. For this and other reasons, the plaintiffs assert, the Commerce Department’s decision also violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to block the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau from including the citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
On August 22, the court denied the government’s motion to dismiss, allowing the plaintiffs to proceed on both their Enumeration Clause and their Administrative Procedure Act claims. The court also granted the plaintiffs discovery beyond the administrative record.
The Brennan Center filed an amicus brief with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, Muslim Advocates and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, supporting the plaintiffs in their efforts to block the citizenship question.
Brennan Center Filings
Filings, Orders, and Opinions
- Complaint (April 11, 2018)
- First Amended Complaint (May 3, 2018)
- Order (May 31, 2018)
- Motion to Dismiss (June 6, 2018)
- Notice of Filing Administrative Record Certification and Index (June 8, 2018)
- Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (June 22, 2018)
- Amicus Brief of the State of Maryland in Support of Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (June 25, 2018)
- Joint Motion to Extend Deadline to Submit Letters Addressing the Availability and Scope of Discovery Beyond the Administrative Record (June 26, 2018)
- Amicus Brief of the Brennan Center for Justice, et al. in Support of Plaintiffs (June 27, 2018)
- Reply Memorandum of Law in Further Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (July 2, 2018)
- Plaintiffs' Letter Brief Regarding Discovery Outside of the Administrative Record (July 13, 2018)
- Defendants' Letter Brief Regarding Discovery Outside of the Administrative Record (July 13, 2018)
- Opinion and Order re: Motion to Dismiss (August 22, 2018)
- Joint Proposal for Pretrial Schedule (August 29, 2018)
- Corrected Scheduling Order (September 10, 2018)