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City of San Jose v. Trump

The City of San Jose and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration challenged President Trump’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the state-population totals that are produced by the 2020 Census and used for apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and votes in the Electoral College.

Last Updated: February 24, 2021
Published: July 29, 2020

Summary

The City of San Jose and the Black Alli­ance for Just Immig­ra­tion chal­lenged Pres­id­ent Trump’s attempt to exclude undoc­u­mented immig­rants from the state-popu­la­tion totals that are produced by the 2020 Census and used for appor­tion­ing seats in the U.S. House of Repres­ent­at­ives and votes in the Elect­oral College. The plaintiffs argued that a July 21, 2020 White House memor­andum direct­ing the Commerce Secret­ary to report data on undoc­u­mented immig­rants to Pres­id­ent Trump viol­ated the U.S. Consti­tu­tion and the federal Census Act.

On Decem­ber 28, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for the North­ern District of Cali­for­nia. On Janu­ary 7, 2021, the district court dismissed the case for lack of juris­dic­tion.  

Case Back­ground

The City of San Jose, Cali­for­nia, King County, Wash­ing­ton, Arling­ton County, Virginia and the Black Alli­ance for Just Immig­ra­tion sued Pres­id­ent Donald Trump, Secret­ary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the Depart­ment of Commerce, the Census Bureau, Census Bureau Director Steven Dilling­ham, and House Clerk Cheryl L. John­son, arguing that the exclu­sion of undoc­u­mented immig­rants from the 2020 Census state-popu­la­tion totals used for appor­tion­ing congres­sional seats and Elect­oral College votes is uncon­sti­tu­tional and other­wise illegal.

The plaintiffs conten­ded that the Pres­id­ent’s July 21, 2020 memor­andum on exclud­ing undoc­u­mented immig­rants from the state-popu­la­tion totals used to calcu­late the state appor­tion­ments viol­ated consti­tu­tional and stat­utory require­ments that the Pres­id­ent include all persons in the congres­sional appor­tion­ment base, irre­spect­ive of citizen­ship or immig­ra­tion status. The plaintiffs also conten­ded that the memor­andum viol­ated the consti­tu­tional right to equal protec­tion because it was motiv­ated “by an intent to discrim­in­ate against Black and Latino people (gener­ally, and, in partic­u­lar, Black and Latino immig­rants).”   

The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the exclu­sion of undoc­u­mented immig­rants from congres­sional appor­tion­ment viol­ates the Consti­tu­tion and federal law. The plaintiffs also asked the court to bar the Commerce Depart­ment and the Census Bureau from acting in any capa­city to exclude undoc­u­mented persons from the appor­tion­ment base and to prevent the Clerk of the House from trans­mit­ting any appor­tion­ments to the states that exclude undoc­u­mented persons from the appor­tion­ment base.

On August 14, the court consol­id­ated this case with Cali­for­nia v. Trump.

On Octo­ber 22, the district court gran­ted the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judg­ment and enjoined the federal govern­ment from imple­ment­ing the memor­andum.

The federal govern­ment appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. 

On Decem­ber 28, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for the North­ern District of Cali­for­nia in light of its Decem­ber 18, 2020 opin­ion ruling that the case was not “ripe for review” in Trump v. New York.

On Janu­ary 7, 2021, the district court dismissed the case for lack of juris­dic­tion. 

Key Docu­ments

U.S. Supreme Court (Case No. 20–561)