The City of Clarkston, Georgia has voted to join Common Cause’s lawsuit challenging President Trump’s July 21 memo ordering the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from census data used for the apportionment of seats in Congress.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks a declaratory judgment that the Administration’s actions violate the Constitution and federal statutes, as well as an injunction to block President Trump’s unconstitutional order. It also asks the Court to require the President to count all people within a state, regardless of immigration status, for the purpose of congressional apportionment—as has been the case for every congressional apportionment since the Constitution was ratified.
“Here in Clarkston we have people who come from diverse backgrounds and we already have enough challenges in getting everyone counted including language barriers – and we don’t want another unconstitutional hindrance from counting every single resident of our City,” Clarkston Councilman Awet Eyasu said.
“A government ‘for the people’ needs to represent all the people,” said Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia. “Our Constitution promises that all people are represented, regardless of whether they are eligible to vote – everyone counts.”
Read the Clarkston City Council’s Resolution joining the lawsuit here.
The lawsuit charges the Administration with violating Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution as amended by Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and related statutes requiring that every resident be counted in the census and included in the basis for reapportioning congressional districts, without regard to citizenship or immigration status. It also outlines the Administration’s violations of the Equal Protection guarantees of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments by diluting a voter’s vote based on where they live and by taking an adverse action against residents on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin.
The lawsuit further alleges that the Administration’s plan to remove undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base violates both Article I, Section 2’s requirement of an “actual enumeration” and the statutory prohibition on use of statistical sampling in connection with apportionment.
“The Constitution is unambiguous in its requirements relating to the census count and reapportionment of Congressional seats—all persons must be counted,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “The White House directive simply ignores those requirements in an unconstitutional attempt to manipulate the process for racial advantage and partisan political gain.”
Dennis noted that Georgia is on track for a significant undercount in the 2020 Census—and the Adminstration’s directive to count selectively can only make that problem worse. “As of today, the 2020 Census has counted only about three-quarters of Georgia’s population,” she said. “Georgia residents who have not yet responded to the Census can help make the count more complete, by returning the mail-back survey, by calling 844-330-2020 or by going online to 2020census.gov.”
Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the cities of Atlanta, Georgia; Dayton, Ohio; Paterson, New Jersey; and Portland, Oregon; the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans; the Center for Civic Policy; Masa; New Jersey Citizen Action; New Mexico Asian Family Center; New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé; and 23 individual Latino, African American, Asian American and other voters from California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.
Plaintiffs are represented by Emmet J. Bondurant of Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP; Gregory L. Diskant, Daniel S. Ruzumna, Aron Fischer, and Jonah M. Knobler of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP; and Michael B. Kimberly of McDermott Will & Emery.