Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Partisan Census Citizenship Question Intended to Intimidate Immigrant Communities

Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Americans deserve a fair and accurate census that counts everyone in our nation as the U.S. Constitution dictates. The Supreme Court tomorrow will hear oral argument in a challenge to the blatantly partisan addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form. Three federal courts have sided with the plaintiffs and said – no citizenship question. Even the Census Bureau’s own research anticipates that the addition of the question will intimidate many residents of immigrant communities resulting in an undercount of more than 6.5 million residents, undermining the integrity and accuracy of the census.

The partisan intent of the citizenship question is clear and Commerce v. New York presents a new opportunity for the Supreme Court, with newly appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, to show that it is above partisanship. This case, coupled this term with Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, the challenges to North Carolina’s and Maryland’s outrageous partisan gerrymanders, will give the court ample opportunity to show that it truly not a partisan branch of government.

The question is clearly partisan in intent. It is the brainchild of hyper-partisan former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, the co-founder of the far-right Breitbart News. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross even went so far as to mislead Congress about the introduction of the citizenship question and his meetings with Bannon on the topic.

The citizenship question is a bald-faced attempt to racially rig the census, undercount communities of color, and undermine fair representation which our democracy relies upon. We trust the Supreme Court will act decisively to end this blatant abuse of power for partisan political gain. The eyes of the nation are upon the Justices.