Case Study

Democracy Forward Foundation v. Department of Commerce

Protecting the Integrity of the 2020 U.S. Census


The decennial census is enshrined in the Constitution as a cornerstone of American democracy.  The census ensures Americans receive equal representation in Washington, helps determine the resource needs of local communities, and informs decisions made by businesses, local governments, and nonprofit groups across America every day.

Despite the importance of the upcoming 2020 Census, the Trump Administration has taken steps that could impede or undermine the Census Bureau’s critical work.  For example, reports have detailed the Administration’s efforts to significantly scale back resources the Census Bureau needs to conduct the 2020 count.  The Administration also proposed directing the Census Bureau to include a question on immigration status in the census, which according to experts could discourage immigrants from participating in the count.  And in March, the Administration removed sexual orientation questions from a list of planned topics for the census, notwithstanding that federal agencies responsible for enforcing laws that protect LGBT individuals from discrimination had requested their inclusion.  Following these troubling events, Census Bureau Director John Thompson abruptly announced his resignation in May after over 40 years of service at the Bureau.

These attempts to undermine the 2020 Census are a threat to public schools and veterans services, to big cities and rural towns, and to the guarantee of equal representation in our government.  That’s why Democracy Forward filed suit in federal court demanding the release of information related to the Administration’s actions.


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