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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)