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Posted 12 Mar 2001   For week ended February 23, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 23Feb01

By Kent Larsen

North Carolina Claims Census Lawsuit without Merit

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The state of North Carolina filed a motion for summary judgement Thursday in US District Court, claiming that Utah has failed to make the case that the US Census Bureau should include its 11,000 LDS overseas missionaries in the census count. The state of Utah filed the lawsuit challenging the census results January 10th, after the Census Bureau released results giving North Carolina an additional seat in the US House of Representatives. The results showed that Utah missed getting that seat by just 857 people.

In its filing, North Carolina claims that the Census Bureau's count was fair. "It is our argument that the bureau's decision to limit its count of overseas citizens to (federal) military and civilian employees was valid and constitutional. If overseas missionaries from Utah are to be counted, then other missionaries and citizens from North Carolina must also be counted," said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. North Carolina also claims that the US Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue, in 1992, when it said that limiting the overseas count to federal employees was constitutional.

In its brief, North Carolina essentially argues that Utah's claims are too little, too late. "The plaintiffs have waited until well after the decisions on the manner, form and conduct of the 2000 Census" were made and after the actual count has occurred, the motion said. According to North Carolina's motion, this means that a judgement for Utah would require a complete recount.

But Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff disagrees, saying that Utah didn't have a choice about when it filed. "We didn't have standing [before the census]; the issue wasn't ripe. I don't know how you get to court when you haven't had an injury. It is now undisputed that because of the way this count was done, we lost our [congressional] seat to North Carolina. Now we can claim injury. It would have been tossed out before."

Shurtleff also says that North Carolina's position actually supports Utah to a degree. Utah would be satisfied if the Census Bureau didn't count anyone overseas, because Utah would get the seat in that case also. "If you look at North Carolina's brief, it is saying don't count anyone [abroad], including federal employees, because it's so arbitrary. We don't disagree with that."


North Carolina seeks summary judgment against Utah's census suit
Raleigh NC News & Observer (AP) 23Feb01 T1

Opponent Fires Back At Utah Census Suit
Salt Lake Tribune 23Feb01 T1
By Joe Baird: Salt Lake Tribune


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