Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 10 (2002)

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

Opinion of the Court

of Commerce to recalculate the numbers and recertify the official result. Both reasonably believed that the Secretary's recertification, as a practical matter, would likely lead to a new, more favorable, apportionment of Representatives. Given these similarities, North Carolina must convince us that we should reconsider Franklin. It has not done so.

North Carolina does not deny that the courts can order the Secretary of Commerce to recalculate the numbers and to recertify the official census result. Rather it points out that Utah suffers, not simply from the lack of a proper census "report" (a document), but more importantly from the lack of the additional congressional Representative to which North Carolina believes itself entitled as a consequence of the filing of that document. Whatever we may have said in Franklin, North Carolina argues, court-ordered relief simply cannot reach beyond the "report" and, here, a proper "report" cannot help bring about that ultimate "redress."

The reason North Carolina believes that court-ordered relief, i. e., the new document, cannot help is that, in its view, the statutes that set forth the census process make ultimate redress legally impossible. Those statutes specify that the Secretary of Commerce must "take a decennial census of population as of the first day of April" 2000, 13 U. S. C. 141(a); he must report the results to the President by January 1, 2001, 141(b); the President must transmit to Congress by January 12, 2001, a statement showing the "whole number of persons in each State . . . and the number of Representatives to which each State would be entitled," 2 U. S. C. 2a(a); and, within 15 days of receiving that statement, the Clerk of the House of Representatives must "send to the executive of each State a certificate of the number of Representatives to which such State is entitled," 2a(b). The statutes also say that, once all that is done, each State "shall be entitled" to the number of Representatives that the "certificate" specifies "until the taking effect of a reapportionment under this section or subsequent statute." Ibid.

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