ASA Joins Amicus Briefs Opposing Citizenship Question on Census Forms

ASA joined an effort led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, Muslim Advocates, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the NALEO Educational Fund, and numerous other professional and civic organizations, to file amicus briefs supporting plantiffs in four lawsuits challening the Commerce Department's intention to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form.

ASA’s Policy Response Team, which is tasked by ASA’s Board with evaluating the policy initiatives that the Society supports, was unanimous in support of these briefs.

Team member Jeanette Takamura of Columbia University School of Social Work commented “Aging issues are also civil rights issues and the civil rights community has stood with us when needed. The populations that are targeted are those that we rely upon for essential services and for many of our industries. In a time when we are alienating so many of allies from so many parts of the world, yet another sign of the U.S. being a punitive, unwelcoming nation seems to me to run counter to everything that has served us well for centuries.”

ASA Public Policy Committee Chair Bill Benson, noted “During the Reagan Administration, when I was staff director of the House Select Committee on Aging’s Subcommittee on Housing and Consumer Interests, Brian Lindberg and I helped fight their efforts to remove Census long form questions related to several matters including indoor plumbing, an indicator of poverty. Many other groups joined us in that effort. We must do the same.”

The lawsuits are New York v. Commerce, which includes as plaintiffs the New York Attorney General's office, 16 additional states, the District of Columbia, several cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors; San Jose v. Ross, which includes as plaintiffs the City of San Jose, Calif., and the California organizing committee of Black Alliance for Just Immigration; California v. Ross, which includes as plaintiffs the State of California, Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, and the cities of Fremont, Long Beach, Oakland and Stockton (all in California); and La Unión del Pueblo Entero v. Commerce, which includes as plaintiffs La Unión del Pueblo Entero and numerous other civic and nonprofit organizations from Maryland to Texas and Arizona.

ASA members who would like to obtain copies of the amicus briefs for these cases can email Public Policy Committee staff liaison Rob Lowe.