Supreme Court Must Reject Trump’s Last-Ditch Scheme To Manipulate 2020 Census

Contact: Charmaine Riley, [email protected], 202.548.7166

WASHINGTON – Before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral argument regarding President Trump’s unconstitutional memorandum that would exclude undocumented immigrants from population figures used for congressional apportionment, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement:

“The U.S. Constitution is clear — everyone in the United States counts in the census. The Trump administration has tried time and again to manipulate the 2020 Census for partisan gain. Trump’s latest attempt to erase marginalized communities from the census again highlights the xenophobia that has guided his administration from the beginning. 

“The census is the foundation of our democracy and we must get the 2020 Census right. 2020 Census data will drive the allocation of federal funding that will help states and localities rebuild from the pandemic and support the health of communities across the country. A bad census hurts everyone. The Court must reject this last-ditch effort to undermine the 2020 Census.”


  • Under Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, “representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.” As Republican and Democratic administrations have concluded, there is nothing unclear about, nor a hidden meaning behind, the constitutional requirement that apportionment be based on the number of persons living in the United States: “Persons” means “persons,” and that means everyone. 
  • Three lower court panels have already blocked the Trump administration from implementing the memorandum. Moreover, the Census Bureau has indicated that it cannot possibly produce accurate data for apportionment before President Trump leaves office.
  • The Constitutional Accountability Center has created this resource, which includes historical information about who has been counted in the census: ISSUE BRIEF: The Cornerstone of Our Democracy: The Census Clause and the Constitutional Obligation to Count All Persons “Following more than seven months of debate, Congress adopted the Fourteenth Amendment, insisting that total population, not voter population, was the basis for our Constitution’s system of representation. ‘As the Framers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible or registered to vote.’ The Fourteenth Amendment, which was approved by the people and became a part of the Constitution in 1868, reaffirmed that our Constitution’s system of equal representation for all depends on a count of the nation’s entire population, including non-citizens. As this history shows, the purpose of the census required by the Constitution has never been to count just citizens, but rather to count ‘the whole body of the people.’” 

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 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