Law & Courts News in Brief

Federal Judge Rejects Including Citizenship Question on Census

By Mark Walsh — January 22, 2019 1 min read

A federal district judge last week rejected U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross Jr.'s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census.

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman held that Ross’ decision to add the question violated the Administrative Procedures Act. Ross “failed to consider several important aspects of the problem; alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him; acted irrationally both in light of that evidence and his own stated decisional criteria; and failed to justify significant departures from past policies and practices,” Furman wrote.

The Census Bureau staff strenuously objected to Ross’ decision. In an August 2018 memo, staff members conservatively estimated a 5.8 percent decline in responses to the census among households with at least one noncitizen.

Many federal programs use census data to allocate money to states and localities. Furman cited such education-related programs as Title I compensatory education grants, special education grants, career and technical education aid, and Head Start.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2019 edition of Education Week as Federal Judge Rejects Including Citizenship Question on Census

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