Court Rules Census Cannot Be Stopped Early

AG James Led Coalition in Filing Amicus Brief Against Reduction in
Time for Census Self-Response and Door-to-Door Follow-Up

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that — late last night — the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction stating that the Trump Administration cannot stop collecting census information early. Data collection efforts for the 2020 Decennial Census must continue through October 31, as originally planned. Earlier this month, Attorney General James led a large coalition of attorneys general, cities, and counties from around the nation, as well as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in supporting legal action to prevent implementation of the Trump Administration's “Rush Plan,” which aimed to reduce the time in which self-response questionnaires would be accepted and door-to-door follow-ups would take place in this year’s census.

“Once again, the Trump Administration’s unlawful attempts to undermine the census and manipulate the population count to the president’s liking have been stopped,” said Attorney General James. “We have repeatedly taken the president to court over his attempts to politicize the census, and we will continue to do so whenever he tries to put politics above the Constitution. We will do everything in our power to stop the president’s shameful actions and ensure that everyone is counted, that our states have proper representation, and that our communities receive funding based off an accurate count.”

Attorney General James led the coalition in filing an amicus brief in National Urban League v. Ross, supporting the plaintiffs’ request for a nationwide preliminary injunction. The coalition argued, in the brief, that the expedited schedule would have hamstrung the U.S. Census Bureau’s ongoing efforts to conduct the census and would thus impair the accuracy of its enumeration of the total population of each state.

Last night’s preliminary injunction continues the directives of a temporary restraining order, issued earlier this month, that instructed the Census Bureau to immediately halt the termination of employees working on census operations in an effort to stop any further harm to the count.

The filing of this amicus brief is the latest in a long list of actions Attorney General James has taken to protect the integrity of the 2020 Decennial Census. In 2018, the Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration in response to its efforts to add a citizenship question to the census. That suit made its way through multiple courts, eventually landing in the U.S. Supreme Court last year, where the court ruled, last June, in favor of New York by prohibiting the Trump Administration from adding the citizenship question to the census. In August of last year, Attorney General James moved to intervene in a separate census case in Alabama where the federal government were defendants, in an effort to ensure the case is properly presented and that every resident in America — irrespective of citizenship status — is counted in the decennial census. Additionally, this past July, Attorney General James led the filing of another lawsuit against the Trump Administration after it announced new efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base following the census count, in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Earlier this month, the courts ruled in Attorney General James’ favor and issued a motion for a partial summary judgment, stopping the president from continuing his efforts to illegally leave millions of undocumented immigrants out of the apportionment base that establishes the number of members in the House of Representatives in each state.

Joining Attorney General James in filing this amicus brief were the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. The attorneys general were joined by the cities of Central Falls, RI; Columbus, OH; Philadelphia, PA; and Pittsburgh, PA. Additionally, Cameron, El Paso, and Hidalgo Counties in Texas; Howard County in Maryland; and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors joined the amicus brief as well.