Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 8 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 452 (2002)

Opinion of the Court


After analyzing the census figures, Utah brought this lawsuit against the Secretary of Commerce and the Acting Director of the Census Bureau, the officials to whom the statutes delegate authority to conduct the census. 28 U. S. C. 2284. Utah claimed that the Bureau's use of "hot-deck imputation" violates the statutory prohibition against use of "the statistical method known as 'sampling,' " 13 U. S. C. 195, and is inconsistent with the Constitution's statement that an "actual Enumeration" be made, Art. I, 2, cl. 3. Utah sought an injunction compelling the census officials to change the official census results. North Carolina intervened. The District Court found in the Census Bureau's favor. 182 F. Supp. 2d 1165 (Utah 2001). Utah appealed. 28 U. S. C. 1253. And we postponed consideration of jurisdiction pending hearing the case on the merits. 534 U. S. 1112 (2002).


North Carolina argues at the outset that the federal courts lack the constitutional power to hear this case. Article III, 2, of the Constitution extends the "judicial Power" of the United States to actual "Cases" and "Controversies." A lawsuit does not fall within this grant of judicial authority unless, among other things, courts have the power to "re-dress" the "injury" that the defendant allegedly "caused" the plaintiff. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 561 (1992); Allen v. Wright, 468 U. S. 737, 751 (1984). And, in North Carolina's view, the courts cannot "redress" the injury that Utah claims to have suffered here. Hence Utah does not have the "standing" that the Constitution demands.

In Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U. S. 788 (1992), this Court considered, and rejected, a similar claim. A private plaintiff had sued the Secretary of Commerce, challenging the legality of a 1990 census counting method as "arbitrary and capricious" and contrary to certain specific statutes.


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