Locke Lord Team Advocates for LatinoJustice PRLDEF Resulting in Supreme Court Blocking Addition of Citizenship Question to 2020 U.S. Census

In Department of Commerce v. New York, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2019, effectively blocked the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census, an outcome which Locke Lord Chicago Partner Ernesto Palomo and team advocated for on behalf of LatinoJustice PRLDEF and 15 other national Latino organizations in an amicus brief filed in the case. Palomo, a member of Locke Lord’s Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, argued anti-immigrant sentiment would cause millions of Latinos to refuse to return Census questionnaires containing a citizenship question, and the resulting undercount of the Latino population would cause massive and lasting harm to the Latino community. The Court ruled the federal government’s justification for including a citizenship question was a pretext, and the case has been remanded to the district court for further proceedings. Additional team members included Hugh Balsam (Chicago), Donald Frechette (Hartford), and Wasim Bleibel (Chicago).

“What this means is that, absent some emergency motion, the government will not be able to print a Census form that includes a citizenship question by the alleged June 30 deadline to finalize the Census materials. This opinion also means that the plaintiffs in a similar case pending in Maryland are now free to pursue their equal protection claim based on newly discovered evidence of discriminatory intent. The two cases will likely go back to the Supreme Court in a few months ,” Palomo said.

To read the brief, click here.
Posted on June 28, 2019