LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has agreed to expedite an appeal filed by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) in a challenge to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
In April, a federal court in Maryland ruled that the addition of the citizenship question violates the Administrative Procedures Act and the Enumeration Clause of the U.S. Constitution, but fell short of ruling that the White House purposefully sought to exclude non-citizens, particularly immigrants of color, from the decennial Census in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
The Trump administration appealed the court’s order prohibiting the addition of the citizenship question to the Census. And attorneys with MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) filed a cross-appeal in April on the sole question of whether the Administration’s motive for the question was racially discriminatory.
Please attribute the following statement on the court of appeal’s decision to expedite briefing to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz:
“Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit agreed to expedite briefing in our appeal of the district court’s rejection, after trial, of a Fifth Amendment claim that the late addition of a citizenship question to Census 2020 was unconstitutionally motivated by an intent to discriminate against immigrants and the Latino community. The United States Supreme Court will not, despite invitation, consider this particular legal claim in its current, ongoing review of other successful legal challenges to the addition of the citizenship question.
“Nonetheless, if the addition of the question was motivated by intentional discrimination, the question cannot constitutionally remain on Census 2020 regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling on other legal claims. In addition, of course, the American public deserves to know if the Trump administration acted out of an intent to discriminate unlawfully in adding an unwarranted citizenship question to the Census.
Given the plethora of evidence of discriminatory intent at trial, the Circuit Court should appropriately consider and decide whether the district court reached an incorrect conclusion on the issue, and it should do so in time to prevent the question from moving forward in Census 2020. MALDEF is therefore pleased that the court’s order recognizes the importance of resolving the issue of discriminatory intent in an expedited fashion regardless of the Supreme Court’s consideration of separate and distinct legal claims against the late addition of the citizenship question.”