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