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Case Name La Unión Del Pueblo Entero v. Ross PB-MD-0006
Docket / Court 8:18-cv-01570-GJH ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice / AAJC
Brennan Center for Justice
MALDEF
Case Summary
This case is one of many challenging the Census Bureau's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

This lawsuit was filed on May 31, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Greenbelt), by La Union del Pueblo Entero and several other immigrant ... read more >
This case is one of many challenging the Census Bureau's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

This lawsuit was filed on May 31, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Greenbelt), by La Union del Pueblo Entero and several other immigrant advocacy groups, seven state legislative caucuses, five state government representatives who represent districts with relatively large non-citizen populations, and two other private plaintiffs. The case was assigned to District Judge George Jarrod Hazel. The plaintiffs sued Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in his official capacity, the United States Department of Commerce and its agency, the Bureau of the Census, and the Bureau’s Director, Ron Jarmin. The plaintiffs, represented by Robert P. Newman, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (“MALDEF”), and Asian Americans Advancing Justice (“AAAJ”), sued the defendants under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Declaratory Judgments Act, alleging that the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census violated the APA, the Equal Protection Guarantee of the Fifth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Apportionment Clause, and the Actual Enumeration Clause of Article I § 2 of the Constitution. The plaintiffs specifically alleged that that the Census Bureau’s decision to include a citizenship question on the Census would violate the “actual enumeration” clause of the Constitution and the Apportionment Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the question would cause a disproportionate undercount of non-U.S. citizens, the U.S. citizen family members of non-U.S. citizens, Asian Americans, and Latinos. This disproportionate undercount would deprive organizational plaintiffs’ members of representation in congressional, state, and local governing bodies, and access to social services whose funding is based on the Census. The plaintiffs further alleged that the decision to include the citizenship question violated the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection guarantee because it was motivated by racial animus towards Latinos, Asian Americans, and animus towards non-U.S. citizens and foreign-born persons. The plaintiffs also argued that the Bureau’s failure to provide independent support for their position that the citizenship data was required to enforce the Voting Rights Act, and their failure to investigate the impact the citizenship question may have on response rates, was “arbitrary and capricious” and “contrary to law” under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

The plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief, requesting the Court enjoin defendants from asking a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. They also sought attorneys’ fees. The Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on July 9, 2018, adding an additional allegation that the defendants’ conspired to violate the constitutional rights of Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and non-U.S. citizen persons, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3).

The government moved to dismiss this case on August 24, 2018. It argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing, that the political question doctrine barred their claims regarding violations of the Actual Enumeration and Apportionment Clauses, and that courts cannot review the Secretary’s decision under the APA. On November 9, Judge Hazel denied the government’s motion to dismiss, finding that the plaintiffs had standing, that the Secretary’s actions were reviewable, and that the political question doctrine did not bar the claims. 2018 WL 5885528.

After Judge Hazel denied the motion to dismiss, the government filed a motion for summary judgment on November 12. Judge Hazel denied this motion as well on December 28.

Judge Hazel consolidated this case with a very similar case, Kravitz v. United States Department of Commerce, on December 19, 2018.

The bench trial in this consolidated matter began on January 22, 2019. On April 5, 2019, Judge Hazel issued a memorandum opinion containing the Court’s Finding of Facts and Conclusion of Law from the bench trial. Judge Hazel found that the decision to add the citizenship question by the Census Bureau was arbitrary and capricious under the APA and that the government’s actions violated the constitution’s Enumeration Clause. 366 F. Supp. 3d 681. However, Judge Hazel held that the plaintiffs in La Unión Del Pueblo Entero did not provide sufficient evidence to succeed on their 42 U.S.C. § 1985 claim. Nonetheless, based on the identified harm to the plaintiffs, Judge Hazel issued a nationwide injunction precluding the citizenship question from being added to the census. On April 8, 2019, the government appealed the final judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

On June 3, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking relief from the portion of the district court's April 5 decision that denied their Fifth Amendment Due Process claim and the claim raised under 42 U.S.C. § 1985. The plaintiffs contended that documents belonging to Thomas Hofeller, a Republican strategist, provided newfound evidence that the citizenship question was added in order to dilute the representation of Hispanics to the political advantage of the Republican Party and non-Hispanic whites. The plaintiffs believed this new evidence would bolster their previously lacking claims. On June 19, 2019, Judge Hazel granted the plaintiffs' motion and set aside the court's previous ruling on these two claims. 382 F. Supp. 3d 393. Meanwhile, the Fourth Circuit granted a separate motion filed by the plaintiffs and remanded the entire case back to the district court for the limited purpose of adjudicating the Fifth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1985 issues. 771 Fed. App'x 323.

Meanwhile, on June 27, 2019, the Supreme Court held in Department of Commerce v. New York that the justifications provided for doing so appeared pretextual and thus were an apparent violation of the APA even though the secretary had the power to add the citizenship question to the census. The court remanded that case back down to the district court for further inquiry into the motives for adding the question, while letting the injunction issued by the district court in that case against the citizenship question stand.

Back in the district court, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction on June 26, 2019. In a July 16, 2019 order in the consolidated case, Judge Hazel permanently enjoined the government from asking the citizenship question on the 2020 census. The same day, the cases were deconsolidated and the remaining issues pending in the Fourth Circuit were remanded back to the district court after the government moved to voluntarily dismiss the remaining appeals.

Because the census is now complete, this case is closed.

Michael Beech - 02/17/2019
John Duffield - 07/28/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Enumerations Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Funding
Government Services (specify)
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Record-keeping
Immigration/Border
Status/Classification
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Non-profit religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1985
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Defendant(s) United States Census Bureau
Plaintiff Description Immigrant advocacy groups
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Asian Americans Advancing Justice / AAJC
Brennan Center for Justice
MALDEF
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2019 - n/a
Filed 05/31/2018
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-MD-0005 : Kravitz v. United States Department of Commerce (D. Md.)
PB-CA-0049 : California v. Ross (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  La Union Del Pueblo Entero v. Ross
2021 Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law
Date: Oct. 14, 2019
By: Brennan Center for Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Calendar of Upcoming Deadlines and Hearings for Census 2020 Cases
Date: Mar. 29, 2019
(Brennan Center for Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  2020 Census Litigation
(The Brennan Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Md.
07/28/2021
8:18-cv-01570
PB-MD-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Md.
05/31/2018
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-MD-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
07/09/2018
Amended Complaint [ECF# 42]
PB-MD-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
11/09/2018
Memorandum Opinion Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 80] (353 F.Supp.3d 381)
PB-MD-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
12/28/2018
Memorandum Opinion Denying Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 96]
PB-MD-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Hazel, George Jarrod (D. Md.) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0003 | PB-MD-0006-0004 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Andriola, Eri (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-9000
Gomez Hernandez, Julia Alejandra (California) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-9000
Grant, Daniel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-9000
Hulett, Denise M. (California) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-0002 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Lopez, Burth (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0002 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Minnis, Terry Ao (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-0002 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Newman, Robert P. (Maryland) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Pellegrini, Tanya G. (California) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-0002 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Perales, Nina (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-0002 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Saenz, Thomas A. (California) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-0002
Senteno, Andrea E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-0002 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Shah, Niyati (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-0002 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Yang, John C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-0001 | PB-MD-0006-0002 | PB-MD-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Coyle, Garrett Joseph (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-9000
Ehrlich, Stephen (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-9000
Federighi, Carol (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-9000
Shumate, Brett (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-9000
Tomlinson, Martin (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0006-9000

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