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State and Federal Government:
Department of Commerce v. U.S. House of Representatives

Docket Number: 98-404
Appealed From: U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
Subjects: Methodology for the 2000 Census

Argued: November 30, 1998

Decided: January 25, 1999
Vote: 5-4

At Issue: Whether the House of Representatives and a group of individual taxpayers have legal "standing" to challenge the administration's plan for statistical sampling in the 2000 census and whether the plan is permissible under federal law and the Constitution.

Decision: The court ruled that federal law prevents the Census Bureau from supplementing its traditional procedure for trying to reach every household with statistical estimates that would be used to determine the nation's population and divide seats in Congress among the states.

The full text of the Department of Commerce v. U.S. House of Representatives decision is available at the FindLaw Internet Legal Resources Web site.

The full text of the 1998 decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, United States House of Representatives v. United States Department of Commerce, is available at the court's Web site. The decision is also available in Adobe Acrobat and WordPerfect formats.

The Census Bureau Web site features a page of frequently asked questions about conducting the census, including questions about Census 2000 data.


Background from The Post
Key Stories: The Battle Over Census Sampling
High Court Rejects Sampling in Census (January 26, 1999)
High Court Clouds Scenarios for Census (January 26, 1999)
High Court Weighs Race-Based Districts (January 21, 1999)


Sources: The Washington Post, Supreme Court, The United States Law Week (a Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. publication)


© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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