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Citizenship Question for 2020 Census Violates APA - NY v. Dept. of Commerce

January 15, 2019 (1 min read)

NY v. Dept. of Commerce

"[T]he Court concludes on the merits that Secretary Ross violated the APA in
multiple independent ways. Most blatantly, Secretary Ross ignored, and violated, a statute that
requires him, in circumstances like those here, to collect data through the acquisition and use of
“administrative records” instead of through “direct inquiries” on a survey such as the census.
Additionally, Secretary Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question was “arbitrary and
capricious” on its own terms: He failed to consider several important aspects of the problem;
alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him;
acted irrationally both in light of that evidence and his own stated decisional criteria; and failed
to justify significant departures from past policies and practices — a veritable smorgasbord of
classic, clear-cut APA violations. On top of that, Secretary Ross acted without observing
procedures required by law, including a statute requiring that he notify Congress of the subjects
planned for any census at least three years in advance. And finally, the evidence establishes that
Secretary Ross’s stated rationale, to promote VRA enforcement, was pretextual — in other
words, that he announced his decision in a manner that concealed its true basis rather than
explaining it, as the APA required him to do."