Resource: NAACP v. Bureau of the Census

By: Brennan Center for Justice

April 21, 2020

The NAACP has sued the Census Bureau, contending that the Bureau’s inadequate preparations for the 2020 Census will lead to a dramatic undercount of communities of color and a violation of the government’s constitutional duty to conduct a full national head count.

The NAACP, Prince George’s County (Maryland), the Prince George’s County Branch of the NAACP, and two of the county’s residents filed a constitutional action against the Census Bureau, the Acting Director of the Bureau, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and President Donald Trump. The plaintiffs’ suit alleges that the Bureau’s funding shortfalls, understaffing, inadequate planning, and insufficient testing of new technology, among other things, will produce a severe undercount of communities of color. This undercount, the plaintiffs contend, will result violate the Constitution’s Enumeration Clause, which requires the federal government to perform an “actual enumeration” of all people living in the United States.