Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 3 (2002)

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454

UTAH v. EVANS

Syllabus

the year 2000 census differs from sampling in several critical respects: (1) As to the nature of the enterprise, sampling seeks to extrapolate the features of a large population from a small one, but the Bureau's imputation process sought simply to fill in missing data as part of an effort to count individuals one by one. (2) As to methodology, sampling seeks to find a subset that will resemble a whole through the use of artificial, random selection processes, whereas the Bureau's methodology was not that typically used by statisticians, but that used to assure that an individual unit (not a "subset"), chosen nonrandomly, will resemble other individuals (not a "whole") selected by the fortuitous unavailability of data. (3) As to the immediate objective, sampling seeks to extrapolate the sample's relevant population characteristics to the whole population, while the Bureau seeks simply to determine the characteristics of missing individual data. These differences, whether of degree or of kind, are important enough to place imputation outside the scope of 195's phrase "the statistical method known as 'sampling.' " That phrase— using the words "known as" and the quotation marks around "sampling"—suggests a term of art with a technical meaning. And the technical literature, which the Court has examined, see Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, 417 U. S. 188, 201, contains definitions that focus upon the sorts of differences discussed above. Also, insofar as the parties rely on statisticians' expert opinion, that opinion uniformly favors the Government. Further, 195's legislative history suggests that the "sampling" to which the statute refers is the practice that the Secretary called "sampling" in 1958 when Congress wrote that law, and that the statutory word does not apply to imputation, which Congress did not consider. Finally, Utah provides no satisfactory alternative account of the meaning of the phrase "the statistical method known as 'sampling.' " Its several arguments—that "sampling" occurs whenever information on a portion of the population is used to infer information about the whole population; that the Court found that two methods, allegedly virtually identical to imputation, constituted "sampling" in Department of Commerce v. United States House of Representatives, 525 U. S. 316, 324-326; that the Bureau, if authorized to engage in imputation, might engage in wide-scale substitution of imputation for person-by-person counting; and that two of the Bureau's imputation methods are inaccurate—are not convincing. Utah has failed to overcome the fact that the Bureau has long and consistently interpreted 195 as permitting imputation, while Congress, aware of this interpretation, has enacted related legislation without changing the statute. Pp. 464-473.

3. The Bureau's use of "hot-deck imputation" does not violate the Census Clause, which requires the "actual Enumeration" of each State's pop-

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