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Sent on Mormon-News: 25Apr01

By Kent Larsen

Utah Appeals, and Files New Census Lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Not content with the answer given by a three-judge panel that heard its challenge to the US Census Bureau's calculations, the state of Utah has appealed that decision to the US Supreme Court. And not content to leave an issue by the way, it has also filed a new lawsuit, claiming that the Census Bureau used statistical methods barred by the court.

"The stakes are too high and the cause is too good," to drop the matter said Utah Governor and LDS Church member Mike Leavitt. The first lawsuit claimed that the bureau excluded LDS missionaries serving overseas but counted US government employees overseas. A three-judge panel last week ruled against Utah, citing a 1992 Supreme Court decision that allowed the bureau to count federal employees overseas but not others. Utah's lawyers claim that the three judge panel, which included two judges from the Denver Circuit of the Court of Appeals, misinterpreted the Supreme Court ruling.

The new claims, which Utah will also seek to have heard by a similar three-judge panel so that it can also be appealed directly to the US Supreme Court, claim that the census bureau estimated the final 0.2% of the population because the households failed to respond to the census. The bureau admits that its census takers simply counted for the unresponsive residence the same number of people as is listed at the next-closest residence.

Utah says that this estimate is unconstitutional, "Imputation is the most gray area of the census," said Utah state Planning Director Natalie Gochnour. "In this case it actually tipped the scales so we did not receive a fourth seat." According to the census bureau, its "imputed" count of nonresponsive residences added 32,457 residents to North Carolina, while it gave Utah only an additional 5,393 residents. "If you eliminate the guessing, we get the sea. If you treat everyone the same, we get the seat."

Utah had tried to add this issue to the lawsuit that the three judge panel ruled on last week. But the panel said that Utah had filed the amended lawsuit too late for a ruling. The decision to pursue this issue also involved local Utah politics. Democrats in the state legislature had urged Utah's lawyers to pursue the "imputation" issue earlier as the most likely to succeed, but Utah's Republican leaders were slow to add it to the lawsuit. Ironically, it was Republicans who nationally objected to allowing the census bureau to use estimates for those households that did not respond. Democrats in the US have long supported using estimates.


Utah reinforces census complaint
Raleigh NC News & Observer (AP) 25Apr01 T1
By Paul Foy: Associated Press Writer

Gloves Still On in Census Fight: Utah to take its appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
Salt Lake Tribune 25Apr01 T1
By Joe Baird: Salt Lake Tribune

See also:

Census Lawsuit Loses on Appeal

Census Arguments Made, But Panel Raises Doubts About Counting LDS Missionaries

Census Judge Reverses Himself, Case to be Heard by Three Judge Panel

Judge's Ruling Will Delay Resolution of Census Lawsuit

Government's Census Reply Claims Utah Hasn't Suffered Damages

North Carolina Claims Census Lawsuit without Merit

Census Official That Cost Utah House Seat Is LDS

Some Say Missionaries Could Have Given Utah Additional US House Seat


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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information