California v. Ross
The State of California has filed a lawsuit against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross challenging the Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. California argues that the Department’s decision violates the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.
This case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The State of California - along with several California cities and counties - is suing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Department of Commerce, the Acting Director of the Census Bureau, and the Census Bureau over the Commerce Department’s recent decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The addition of the question, California alleges, will deter non-citizens and their relatives from responding to the census and produce detrimental effects for states with large immigrant populations—including fewer congressional seats and billions of dollars in lost federal funding. Because a citizenship question will depress census responses, California contends, the decision to add it will inevitably lead to a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s requirement for an “actual enumeration” of every person residing in the country. California also argues that the Department’s decision violates the Administrative Procedure Act’s prohibition against “arbitrary and capricious” agency action, because the Department failed to adequately account for the undercount threat when formulating its position.
The plaintiffs are seeking both preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting the Census Bureau from including the citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
The court consolidated this case with another pending citizenship-question suit, City of San Jose v. Ross, for purposes of discovery.
On August 17, the court denied the government's motion to dismiss, allowing the plaintiffs to proceed on both their Enumeration Clause claim and their Administrative Procedure Act claims. The court also granted the plaintiffs discovery beyond the administrative record.
The Los Angeles Unified School District has moved to intervene as a plaintiff in the case; its motion is pending.
The Brennan Center filed an amicus brief with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, Muslim Advocates, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, NALEO Educational Fund, et al., supporting the plaintiffs in their efforts to block the citizenship question.
Brennan Center Filings
Filings, Orders and Opinions
- Complaint (March 26, 2018)
- First Amended Complaint (May 4, 2018)
- Order (May 22, 2018)
- Stipulation for Hearing and Briefing Deadlines Re: Discovery Deadlines Outside the Administrative Record; Order (June 6, 2018)
- Notice of Filing of Administrative Record (June 8, 2018)
- Plaintiffs' Opening Brief Re: Right to Take Discovery (June 14, 2018)
- Defendants' Memorandum Brief in Support of Review on the Administrative Record (June 14, 2018)
- Stipulation Regarding Briefing Schedule and Excess Pages for Defendants' Motion to Dismiss; Order (June 18, 2018)
- Notice of Filing Supplement to Administrative Record (June 21, 2018)
- Plaintiffs' Responsive Brief Re: Right to Take Discovery (June 21, 2018)
- Defendants' Reply in Support of Review of the Administrative Record (June 21, 2018)
- Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (June 21, 2018)
- Amicus Brief of American Center for Law and Justice in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Justice (June 29, 2018)
- Amicus Brief of Project on Fair Representation in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (July 2, 2018)
- Los Angeles Unified School District's Motion to Intervene (July 6, 2018)
- Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (July 17, 2018)
- Amicus Brief of the Brennan Center for Justice, et al. in Support of Plaintiffs (July 24, 2018)
- Defendants' Reply Brief in Further Support of Motion to Dismiss (July 31, 2018)
- Joint Report on Coordination of Discovery (August 9, 2018)
- Opinion and Order re: Motion to Dismiss (August 17, 2018)
- Order Granting Discovery Outside of the Administrative Record (August 17, 2018)
- Order re: Case Schedule (August 30, 2018)
- Defendants' Answer to First Amended Complaint (August 31, 2018)