Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 21 (2002)

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472

UTAH v. EVANS

Opinion of the Court

tion is more susceptible to manipulation than census-taking that fills in ultimate blanks with a zero. And given the advance uncertainties as to which States imputation might favor, manipulation would seem difficult to arrange. If Justice O'Connor's speculation comes to pass—that the Bureau would decide, having litigated this case and utilized imputation in a subsequent census, to forgo the benefits of that process because of its results—the Court can address the problem at that time. As to the second, Utah's claim concerns the nature of the imputation method, not its accuracy as applied—though we add that neither the record, see infra, at 477, nor Justice O'Connor's opinion, see post, at 487-488, gives us any reason to doubt that accuracy here.

We note one further legal hurdle that Utah has failed to overcome—the Bureau's own interpretation of the statute. The Bureau, which recommended this statute to Congress, has consistently, and for many years, interpreted the statute as permitting imputation. Hogan ¶¶ 39, 41, 43, 46, 47, 52, App. 266-273. Congress, aware of this interpretation, has enacted related legislation without changing the statute. See, e. g., Census Address List Improvement Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-430, 108 Stat. 4393; Foreign Direct Investment and International Financial Data Improvements Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-533, 104 Stat. 2344; Act of Oct. 14, 1986, Pub. L. 99-467, 100 Stat. 1192. (Indeed, the Bureau told Congress of its planned use of imputation in the year 2000 census without meeting objection.) And the statute itself delegates to the Secretary the authority to conduct the decennial census "in such form and content as he may determine." 13 U. S. C. 141(a). Although we do not rely on it here, under these circumstances we would grant legal deference to the Bureau's own legal conclusion were that deference to make the difference. Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U. S. 837, 842-845 (1984).

In sum, imputation differs from sampling in respect to the nature of the enterprise, the methodology used, and the im-

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