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Brennan Center Urges Supreme Court to Allow Census Bureau to Use “Sampling” Techniques

November 24, 1998

For Immediate Release
November 24, 1998

Contact Information:
Ken Weine, 212 998–6736

Brennan Center Urges Supreme court to Allow Census Bureau to Use “Sampling” Techniques
High court to hear oral arguments on Monday, November 30

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is available to comment on the Supreme Court’s review of the use of “sampling” techniques for taking the U.S. Census.

Richard R. Buery, Jr., a Brennan Center Staff Attorney who co-authored an amicus brief on this case on behalf of the Center, the ACLU, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, can comment that the Republican challenges to using “sampling” techniques are meritless – on constitutional, statutory, and policy grounds.

“Purposefully undercounting the poor and people of color can only further alienate them from American democracy,” Mr. Buery states. “What surer signal could there be that we are, like Ralph Ellison’s hero, invisible to America?”

The 1990 census missed 12.2% of Native Americans living on reservations, 5% of Latinos, and 4.4% of African-Americans. In contrast, only 0.7% of non-Latino whites went uncounted. Renters were more likely to be undercounted than were homeowners, and children were more likely to be missed than were adults.

The Brennan Center is a nonprofit institute devoted to discourse and action on issues of justice central to the jurisprudence of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. The Center is engaged in litigation, public education, and scholarship on campaign finance reform, ballot access law, and poverty issues. The Nation magazine’s most recent issue features an op-ed by Mr. Buery entitled “GOP Census Politics”.

Contact the Brennan Center for a copy of Mr. Buery’s op-ed.