SCOTUS Says Census Lawsuit Can Proceed w/ DOJ Deposition, Shields Secretary Ross

October 23rd, 2018

Opening arguments set for Nov 5th in SDNY

NEW YORK, NY - Last night the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the deposition of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the joined lawsuit against adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. However, the court ruled that Assistant Attorney General John Gore can be deposed, and the lawsuit can proceed in the Southern District of New York. Opening arguments in the case begin Monday, November 5th.

In response, Steven Choi, Executive Director at the New York Immigration Coalition said:

"While the Court did not allow us to depose Secretary Ross, it did authorize AAG Gore's valuable testimony. Bottom line - this lawsuit will proceed, and it will show that the Trump Administration conspired to rig the census against immigrants as part of a white supremacist agenda led by Kris Kobach and Steve Bannon. It's an obvious attempt to subvert the Constitution in order to deprive big, immigrant-rich states of federal dollars and political capital, all for partisan gain."


Last week, the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction, blocking the lower court-ordered depositions of Secretary Ross and DOJ official John Gore. Then, news broke that Ross had spoken with Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, about the decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. In testimony before Congress, Ross had previously denied speaking with Bannon, claiming he was “not aware” of any contact with the White House.

Civil rights lawyers were set to depose Ross in the lawsuit State of New York et al v. the Department of Commerce. The lawsuit argues that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census violates the Constitution and reverses seven decades of precedent without a factual basis. District Court Judge Furman previously cited inconsistencies between Secretary Ross’ testimony before Congress and subsequent information obtained through discovery, signaling that Secretary Ross may have lied in his previous statement.

The NYIC has also filed a related federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York in conjunction with the ACLU and four other immigrant rights groups against the administration’s attempt to target immigrant communities, challenging the addition of the citizenship question by adding an intentional discrimination claim.

The lawsuits brought by the New York Attorney General and the New York Immigration Coalition have been consolidated into one.