FACTS OF THE CASE

In March 2018, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that the 2020 census would include a question about citizenship to help the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) enforce voting rights. The addition of the question was challenged by some states and civil rights groups. They argued that households with individuals residing in the country without legal permission would be less likely to respond to the census, resulting in an inaccurate count.

 

QUESTION PRESENTED:

1. Whether the district court erred in enjoining the Secretary of Commerce from reinstating a question about citizenship to the 2020 decennial census on the ground that the Secretary's decision violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

2. Whether, in an action seeking to set aside agency action under the APA, a

district court may order discovery outside the administrative record to probe the mental processes of the agency decision-maker--including by compelling the testimony of high-ranking Executive Branch officials--without a strong showing that the decision-maker disbelieved the objective reasons in the administrative record, irreversibly prejudged the issue, or acted on a legally forbidden basis.

 

ORDER OF MARCH 15, 2019:

The Parties are directed to brief and argue the following additional question:

Whether the Secretary of Commerce’s decision to add a citizenship question to the decennial census violated the enumeration clause of the U.S. Constitution, Art. I, §2, CL. 3.