Manatt’s John Libby, leader of the firm’s investigations and white collar defense practice, spoke to Bloomberg about the potential impact of the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
California filed a lawsuit against the federal government last year to block the question from the upcoming census. California has the largest number of immigrants and Hispanics in the United States—many of whom could refuse to answer the question, fearing retribution for illegal immigration and leaving them out of the census entirely, the state claims.
A similar case in New York ruled in favor of the state, with U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan ruling that “the addition of the question violated the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law governing changes to agency regulations.” The Commerce Department may try to find a different legal route to add the question to the census, Libby said, but it would most likely be unsuccessful.
“There’s nothing the Commerce Department can do to fix it—it’s a violation of a key part of the Constitution,” said Libby.
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