NAACP v. Bureau of the Census, No. 19-1863 (4th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the "methods and means" that the Census Bureau has adopted for the 2020 Census, and the contention that the 2020 Census will produce an even greater differential undercount. Plaintiffs represent hard-to-count communities that historically have suffered the greatest harms from differential undercounts, and that directly will lose federal funding if the differential undercount increases in 2020. The district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims under the Enumeration Clause and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
The Fourth Circuit affirmed in part, holding that plaintiffs' APA claims, as pleaded, did not satisfy the jurisdictional limitations on judicial review set forth in the APA. However, mindful of the Supreme Court's recent guidance affirming judicial review of "both constitutional and statutory challenges to census-related decision-making," Dep't of Commerce v. New York, 139 S. Ct. 2551, 2568 (2019), the court held that the district court erred in dismissing plaintiffs' Enumeration Clause claims as unripe, and in precluding plaintiffs from filing an amended complaint regarding those claims after defendants' plans for the 2020 Census became final. Therefore, the court reversed in part and remanded to allow plaintiffs to file an amended complaint setting forth their Enumeration Clause claims.