Skip Navigation
Court Case Tracker

Center for Popular Democracy Action v. Bureau of the Census

The Center for Popular Democracy Action and the City of Newburgh, New York sued the Census Bureau, contending that the Bureau’s preparations for the 2020 Census were deficient and would lead to a dramatic undercount of communities of color.

Last Updated: April 21, 2020
Published: December 3, 2019

Note: The Bren­nan Center is not a parti­cipant in this case.

Summary

The Center for Popu­lar Demo­cracy Action and the City of Newburgh, New York  sued the Census Bureau, contend­ing that the Bureau’s prepar­a­tions for the 2020 Census were defi­cient and would lead to a dramatic under­count of communit­ies of color in viol­a­tion of the govern­ment’s consti­tu­tional duty to conduct a full national head count. On March 18, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the South­ern District of New York dismissed the case.

Case Back­ground

The Center for Popu­lar Demo­cracy Action (CPD Action) and the City of Newburgh, NY sued the Census Bureau, Bureau Director Steven Dilling­ham, the U.S. Depart­ment of Commerce, and Commerce Secret­ary Wilbur Ross. The suit alleged that the Bureau’s Final Oper­a­tional Plan for the 2020 Census “drastic­ally and arbit­rar­ily reduces the neces­sary resources for key activ­it­ies.” The plaintiffs alleged that the Census Bureau had arbit­rar­ily chosen to under­staff field oper­a­tions, reduce the number of field offices, and insuf­fi­ciently staff the Bureau’s commu­nic­a­tions and part­ner­ship program, includ­ing by elim­in­at­ing local Ques­tion­naire Assist­ance Centers. The plaintiffs conten­ded that these changes to the census program viol­ate the Admin­is­trat­ive Proced­ure Act (APA) and would produce a severe under­count of communit­ies of color, in viol­a­tion of the Enumer­a­tion Clause of the Consti­tu­tion.

The plaintiffs asked the court for injunct­ive and other appro­pri­ate relief requir­ing the Census Bureau to develop a plan to ensure that hard-to-count popu­la­tions would be enumer­ated in the 2020 Census

On March 18, 2020, the district court dismissed the case in its entirety.

Docu­ments