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Talking Points: Supreme Court Citizenship Question in the Census

UPDATED: On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Department of Commerce v. New York that, for now, a question about citizenship cannot be included in the 2020 Census. The following message guidance is for all Leagues to speak with one voice about the decision and its effects.


The League of Women Voters of New York State was one of several named organizational plaintiffs in this case.  LWVUS joined an amicus brief in the case, standing with other civic organizations to make it clear that adding the citizenship question would harm the communities who stand to lose the most if the 2020 Census includes a citizenship question.


Stay tuned to the LWV social media channels for real time analysis as our attorneys review the decisions from the Justices.

The Supreme Court rules that the Census Bureau cannot include a citizenship question in the census

  • The League is relieved that the Court protected the purpose and outcome of the 2020 Census. Unfortunately, however, much of the damage is already done. The suggestion of a citizenship question in the census was a scare tactic designed to decrease participation among non-English speaking and immigrant communities.
  • An untested citizenship question could have discouraged participation, resulting in an undercount of the entire American public.
  • A complete census count is crucial for allocation of vital government resources, reapportionment of Congressional representatives, and electoral district maps for the next 10 years.
  • The League will be working overtime to ensure the most complete possible participation from hard-to-count communities.