The timing of the decision in Rucho v. LWV of North Carolina (and its companion cases) could not be more crucial as we gear up for the 2020 Census—the subject of another important case the Supreme Court decided yesterday.
The Supreme Court ruled in Department of Commerce v. New York that a citizenship question in the U.S. Census report cannot proceed for 2020. In a key part of the decision, the Court rejected the notion that the purpose of a citizenship question was to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. We celebrate the Court’s ruling and are relieved that the question will not appear in the census questionnaire—but there is still much work to be done.
The 2020 Census will begin on April 1 and will aim to count every individual living in the United States. The data gathered will serve as the launching pad for the 2021 redistricting cycle, when state legislatures will begin designing new district plans for the next decade.
The interdependency of the census, state reapportionment, redistricting, and elections cannot be minimized—and we will be working overtime in the coming months to ensure the most complete possible census count, with a focus on hard-to-count communities.