A federal challenge to the Department of Commerce’s inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire on two grounds (1) it violated the Constitutions “actual enumeration” mandate under Article I § 2, cl. 3 and (2) the inclusion of the citizenship question was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
In March 2019, the trial court held the inclusion of the citizenship question violated the Constitution and was arbitrary and capricious. The court vacated the question and enjoined the Dept. of Commerce from including the citizenship question in the 2020 census. Following the decision, the Dept. of Commerce appealed to the Ninth Circuit and petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case.
The case was consolidated with California v. Ross and on June 28, 2019 the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the cases to be reconsidered consistent with the Court’s decision in Dept. of Commerce v. New York. On July 11, 2019 the President issued an executive order acknowledging the citizenship question would not be included on the 2020 census questionnaire and the Dept. of Commerce moved to voluntarily dismiss the appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which the court granted on July 30, 2019.
On August 1, 2019, the trial court held the citizenship question was arbitrary and capricious and permanently enjoined the Dept. of Commerce from including the citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire.