Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452 (2002)

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appeal from the united states district court for the district of utah

No. 01-714. Argued March 27, 2002—Decided June 20, 2002

The Census Bureau derives most census information from forms it mails to a nationwide list of addresses. If no one replies to a particular form or the information supplied is confusing, contradictory, or incomplete, the Bureau follows up with visits by its field personnel. Occasionally, despite the visits, the Bureau may still have conflicting indications about, e. g., whether a listed address is a housing unit, office building, or vacant lot, whether a residence is vacant or occupied, or the number of persons in a unit. The Bureau may then use a methodology called "imputation," by which it infers that the address or unit about which it is uncertain has the same population characteristics as those of its geographically closest neighbor of the same type (i. e., apartment or single-family dwelling) that did not return a form. In the year 2000 census, the Bureau used "hot-deck imputation" to increase the total population count by about 0.4%. But because this small percentage was spread unevenly across the country, it made a difference in the apportionment of congressional Representatives. In particular, imputation increased North Carolina's population by 0.4% while increasing Utah's by only 0.2%, so that North Carolina will receive one more Representative and Utah one less than if the Bureau had simply filled relevant informational gaps by counting the related number of individuals as zero. Utah brought this suit against appellees, the officials charged with conducting the census, claiming that the Bureau's use of "hot-deck imputation" violates 13 U. S. C. 195, which prohibits use of "the statistical method known as 'sampling,' " and is inconsistent with the Constitution's statement that an "actual Enumeration shall be made," Art. I, 2, cl. 3. Utah sought an injunction compelling appellees to change the official census results. North Carolina intervened. The District Court found for the Bureau.


1. The Court rejects North Carolina's argument that Utah lacks standing because this action is not a "Case" or "Controversy," Art. III, 2, in that the federal courts do not have the power to "redress" the "injury" that appellees allegedly "caused" Utah, e. g., Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 561. Because there is no significant dif-

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