Minnesota Files Brief Opposing Citizenship Question

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Minnesota Joins States and Local Governments Filing Brief with Supreme Cour Opposing Citizenship Question

Statement from Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellision

April 1, 2019 (Saint Paul) — Today, one year to the day before Census 2020 is conducted, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison joined a coalition of 18 states, 16 local governments, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in filing a brief at the U.S. Supreme Court that challenges the U.S. Department of Commerce’s attempt to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. Minnesota Council on Foundations also joined with a network of national grantmakers to file an amicus brief opposting the citizenship question (See PDF below.) or read here.

“I believe everybody counts, everybody matters. This means that one year from today, literally everybody must be counted,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Fair representation and fair allocation of resources ride on a fair and accurate count. We’re at the Supreme Court to keep the Administration from undercounting us, which would underfund the ability of the people of our state to afford their lives and undermine their dignity.”

In April 2018, the coalition of states, local governments, and mayors sued to stop the Department of Commerce from asking respondents to the 2020 Census if they are citizens. On January 15, 2019, a federal district court judge in New York ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add the question to the census wasarbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. It also ruled that Secretary Ross violated two provisions of the Census Act, and that the rationale the Secretary offered for adding the question was a pretext. The court ordered that the citizenship question be stripped from the 2020 Census. The federal government appealed that decision directly to the Supreme Court.

In the brief filed today, the states, local governments, and mayors argue that the Supreme Court should uphold the lower court’s decision. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 23.

In Minnesota today, the one-year countdown to Census 2020 was marked by Governor Tim Walz, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, and leaders of the Minnesota Complete Count Committee, who kicked off Minnesota’s “We Count” Census campaign. The next constitutionally-mandated decennial census will be conducted on April 1, 2020.

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