Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Law of the Census

Nate Persily

Next week the Census plans to release its demographic profile of America and soon afterward the apportionment totals for the states. If the 2010 Census is like its predecessors, the state next in line for a congressional seat will sue and argue that some counting method employed by the Census was unconstitutional or otherwise illegal. Because recent Supreme Court decisions surrounding the Voting Rights Act (VRA) have placed greater importance on the size of a minority community that is entitled to its own majority-minority district, we should expect dickering over the census numbers to continue for the next three years or so. For the first time, moreover, the Census will also be releasing data relating to the size of the prisoner and non-citizen population in time for redistricting. I discuss all of these issues and more in an article about to appear in a Cardozo Law Review symposium issue to be published next month. The article -- "The Law of the Census: How to Count, What to Count, Whom to Count, and Where to Count Them" -- is now available here.

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