178 Groups Urge Supreme Court to Strike Census Citizenship Question

Contact: LaGloria Wheatfall, [email protected], 202.548.7160

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, along with 176 other grassroots, advocacy, labor, legal services, education, and faith-based organizations, submitted afriend of the court” brief in Department of Commerce v. New York supporting the lower court’s decision barring Secretary of Commerce Ross from adding a new, untested, and unnecessary citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The groups make clear that adding the citizenship question would harm the communities who stand to lose the most if the 2020 Census includes a citizenship question.

The groups write, in part, that collecting citizenship data on the 2020 Census would serve the opposite of Commerce Secretary Ross’ stated purpose of Voting Rights Act (VRA) enforcement:

“[The] claim that a citizenship question will advance the interests of the VRA is implausible on its face. Existing citizenship data have proven more than adequate to enforce Section 2 of the VRA. And, given the risk of a systematic undercount, the inclusion of a citizenship question on the decennial census will not result in useful data for the litigation of Section 2 cases. Instead, adding a citizenship question will harm the very populations that the VRA is intended to protect.”

The harm that a citizenship question would cause is not limited to VRA enforcement efforts. The brief also notes that a citizenship question would bring long-lasting, tangible harms to the people amici represent first by causing the census to omit them and their neighbors from the decennial count, and then by reducing their political representation and gutting the social services on which they depend.

The amicus brief is available here, and a full list of the participating organizations follows below:

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

4CS of Passaic County


9to5 Colorado

9to5 Georgia

9to5 Wisconsin


Advancement Project California

Advocates for Children of New Jersey

African American Ministers In Action

American Anthropological Association

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees International Union

American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

American Society on Aging

Andrew Goodman Foundation

Anti-Defamation League

Arab American Institute (AAI)

Arizona Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Party Caucus

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Asian American LEAD

Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)

Asian Law Alliance

Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

Cabarrus Rowan Community Health Centers

California Calls Education Fund

California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Campaign Legal Center

Center for Civic Policy

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Popular Democracy

Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism-California State University, San Bernardino

Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law

Central Conference of American Rabbis

CHANGE Illinois

Child Care Aware of America

Children Now

Children’s Advocacy Institute

Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York

Citizens Union

Clayton Early Learning

Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Coalition on Human Needs

Colorado Center on Law and Policy

Colorado Children’s Campaign

Community Service Society of New York

Connecticut Association for Human Services

Crescent City Media Group

Defending Rights & Dissent

Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Demand Progress Education Fund

Democracy Forward Foundation


Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos

Emgage Action

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)

Equality California

Equality North Carolina

Fair Count Inc.

Fair Elections Center

Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM)

Feminist Majority Foundation

First Focus

FISH Hospitality Program, Inc.

General Synod of the United Church of Christ

Generations United

Government Information Watch

Hindu American Foundation

Hispanic Organization for Leadership & Action (HOLA)

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda

In the Public Interest

International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Justice in Aging

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

Latino Community Fund Inc.

League of Women Voters, U.S.

Legal Aid Justice Center

Maine Children’s Alliance

Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition

Marion County Commission on Youth, Inc.

Massachusetts Voter Table

Matthew Shepard Foundation

Men of Reform Judaism

Mi Familia Vota

Michigan Nonprofit Association

Minnesota Council on Foundations

Modern Language Association

Muslim Advocates

Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)

Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)

NALEO Educational Fund

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)

National Coalition for Literacy

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

National Consumer Law Center

National Consumers League

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council on Independent Living

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Health Law Program

National Hispanic Media Coalition

National Housing Law Project

National Human Services Assembly

National Institute for Reproductive Health

National Iranian American Council

National Justice for Our Neighbors

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Organization for Women Foundation

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Urban League, Inc.

National Women’s Law Center

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Florida Majority

New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus


North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT)

Oasis – A Haven for Women and Children

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates

Partnership for America’s Children

Paterson Alliance

Paterson Education Fund

Pegasus Legal Services for Children

People For the American Way Foundation

Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Research Advisory Services, Inc.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

Southeast Michigan Census Council

Southern Poverty Law Center

Stronger North Carolina, Inc.

Texas Progressive Action Network

The Children’s Partnership

The Impact Fund

The Protect Democracy Project

The Sikh Coalition

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

The Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Inc.

Union for Reform Judaism

United Chinese Association of Brooklyn, Inc.

United Farm Workers of America

United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union AFL-CIO, CLC

United We Dream

University YMCA New American Welcome Center


Virginia Civic Engagement Table

Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Voices for Illinois Children

Voices for Utah Children

Voices for Vermont’s Children

Voto Latino

Washington Nonprofits

Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice

Women for Afghan Women

Women of Reform Judaism

Women’s March

Woodhull Freedom Foundation

Yemeni American Merchants Association – YAMA

YMCA of Greater New York


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform, revitalize – and when necessary, defend – our country’s systems of democracy and justice. At this critical moment, the Brennan Center is dedicated to protecting the rule of law and the values of Constitutional democracy. We focus on voting rights, campaign finance reform, ending mass incarceration, and preserving our liberties while also maintaining our national security. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them – in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion. For more on the Brennan Center, visit https://www.brennancenter.org/.