Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities Call on SCOTUS to Reject Citizenship Question in Census

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Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities Call on SCOTUS to Reject Citizenship Question in Census

April 8, 2019
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Photo by Josh Sobel on Unsplash

The New York State Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, and Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, are calling on the United States Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling blocking a proposed question on citizenship from appearing on the 2020 U.S. Census. 

The Catholic entities, joining with other religious and secular human services organizations, filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief supporting a lawsuit brought by New York and several other states and entities against the United States Department of Commerce. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case April 23 following a favorable decision for the plaintiffs in federal district court in the Southern District of New York in January, which the government has appealed. 

In the brief, the organizations argue, first, that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr.’s decision to add a citizenship question violated the law because he failed to report to Congress well in advance of the census that he intended to do so. This failure, the amici argued, violates the separation of powers and “has a pernicious anti-democratic effect.”

Furthermore, they argued, the decision to add the citizenship question “will undoubtedly cause a severe undercount of noncitizen and Hispanic households” that would result in harm that “is hard to exaggerate,” both to the human services organizations and to the individuals they se