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US Supreme Court Blocks Citizenship Question on 2020 Census, Trump Issues Executive Order to Collect Citizenship Data (New York v Department of Commerce)

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/edpl/2019/3/23

Marc Rotenberg, Bilyana Petkova


New York v Department of Commerce, No 18-966, Judgment of the US Supreme Court of 27 June 2019
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires federal agencies to follow certain procedures prior to agency action. The Supreme Court held that the rationale behind the decision of Secretary of Commerce Ross to add a citizenship question to the Census 2020 – to ensure enforcement of the Voting Rights Act – was a ‘contrivance’ and violated the APA. The practical consequence of the decision was to prevent the question about citizenship from appearing on the 2020 census. Following the decision, President Trump announced an Executive Order concerning ‘Collecting Information about Citizenship Status in Connection with the Decennial Census’ which may also rely upon pretextual arguments that can be subsequently challenged in court.

Marc Rotenberg, President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center. Co-author (with Anita Allen), Privacy Law and Society (2016). For correspondence: <mailto:rotenberg@epic.org>. Bilyana Petkova, Assistant Professor, Maastricht University School of Law and Fellow-in-Residence at EPIC. For correspondence: <mailto:bilyana.petkova@maastrichtuniversity.nl>

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