Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 22 (2002)

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

Opinion of the Court

mediate objective sought. And as we have explained, these differences are of both kind and degree. That the differences may be of degree does not lessen their significance where we are charged with interpreting statutory language and we are faced with arguments that suggest that it covers even the most ordinary of inferences. Since that cannot be so, we have found the keys to understanding the operative phrase in its history: the fact that the Bureau itself believed imputation to stand outside the prohibition it requested Congress pass, the fact that the Bureau has consistently used imputation, and the fact that Congress, on notice of that use, has not suggested otherwise. For these reasons, we conclude that the statutory phrase "the statistical method known as 'sampling' " does not cover the Bureau's use of imputation.


Utah's constitutional claim rests upon the words "actual Enumeration" as those words appear in the Constitution's Census Clause. That Clause, as changed after the Civil War (in ways that do not matter here), reads as follows:

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States . . . according to their respective Numbers . . . counting the whole number of persons in each State. . . . The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, . . . in such Manner as they shall by Law direct." Art. I, 2, cl. 3 (emphasis added); see also Amdt. 14, 2.

Utah argues that the words "actual Enumeration" require the Census Bureau to seek out each individual. In doing so, the Bureau may rely upon documentary evidence that an individual exists, say, a postal return, or upon eyewitness evidence, say, by a census taker. It can fill in missing data through the use of testimonial reports, including secondhand or thirdhand reports, made by a family member, neighbor,


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