The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will present the Robert F. Mullen Pro Bono Award to the firm for its outstanding work litigating against the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Decennial Census. A national, multioffice Manatt team led by corporate investigations and white collar defense co-chair John Libby, litigation partner Emil Petrossian and financial services group partner John McGuinness have been carrying out this effort alongside the Lawyers’ Committee and Public Counsel.
Inclusion of the divisive question would require respondents to disclose whether they are U.S. citizens on the 2020 Census. The federal government has publicly stated that the question was added to aid with enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. But 18 states, the District of Columbia, several cities and various immigration groups have sued Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Census Bureau and its director, Ron Jarmin, asserting that the question was added for improper political reasons aimed at causing undercounts among minority and immigrant populations, which could have potentially far-reaching detrimental effects on those communities and urban areas in general. Manatt, Lawyers’ Committee and Public Counsel are jointly representing the city of San Jose and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, and will be heading to trial on behalf of those clients on January 7, 2019.
The Lawyers’ Committee’s principal mission is to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law. The award, named after a former co-chair of the Lawyers’ Committee who strongly advocated for pro bono legal services, is given annually to those law firms that provide extraordinary assistance toward achieving that mission.
Emil Petrossian will be accepting the award on behalf of the firm at the Lawyers’ Committee’s Annual Awards Reception in New York City on the evening of Wednesday, December 5. Please contact the Marketing Department if you will be in New York and are interested in attending.
The Manatt team included partners John Libby, Emil Petrossian, John McGuinness and Craig Rutenberg; associates Andrew Case, Ana Guardado, Rory Adams, Funmi Showole, Sal Perez and Mario Cardona; senior paralegals Lindy Willingham and Bridget McLaughlin; junior paralegal Lori McCoy; legal secretaries Dawn Runchey, Erica Embray and Nancy Dalin-Peters; project coordinator Robert Martinez; and practice support supervisor Barbara Gasik.
This case was also covered by NPR and The Hill.