Attorney General Becerra: 2020 Census Citizenship Question Is Unconstitutional

Friday, August 17, 2018
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today applauded U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg’s decision to deny the Trump Administration’s motion to dismiss California’s lawsuit to keep a citizenship question off of the 2020 Census.

"Tonight's ruling grants us discovery to understand the decision-making behind the Administration's effort to disrupt an accurate Census count and most importantly, for our case to fully move forward,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Our communities in California depend on the Census to determine critical services for our schools, disaster relief, public health and safety and we're encouraged by today's decision."

On March 27, 2018, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the Trump Administration over its decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire. In his lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra alleges that including a citizenship question in the 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire violates Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, which requires the “actual Enumeration” of all people in each state every ten years, and the Administrative Procedure Act’s prohibition against “arbitrary and capricious” agency action.

Attorney General Becerra has been a vocal opponent of the Trump Administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire. On February 12, 2018, he co-led a coalition of 19 Attorneys General in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, cautioning that a citizenship question would violate the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes. In March, Attorney General Becerra – along with Secretary of State Alex Padilla – also published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle highlighting how high the stakes are for California.  

A copy of the original complaint and a copy of the court’s decision on the motion to dismiss is attached to the electronic version of this release at

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