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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census
of Representatives; instead, the state of Washington gained its ninth seat. This occasioned Massachusetts’ May 1991 legal challenge to the policy of including overseas personnel in the apportionment totals; we summarize the resulting case—Massachusetts v. Franklin—and the “enduring tie” standard it suggested in Box 2-5.
C.3 THE 2000 CENSUS
The 2000 rules for overseas populations followed those from 1990. As in 1990, the 435th and final seat in the House of Representatives was won by a small population total, and the overseas count became a focus of litigation.
Prior to the 2000 census, organizations representing Americans living abroad pressed for congressional interest in the issue. The House Subcommittee on the Census held a 1999 hearing to review various legislative proposals to include nongovernmental overseas Americans in the count that had been introduced in both chambers of Congress.4 At the hearing, which also considered proposals to change the Bureau’s policy on counting prisoners at the prison location (see Chapter 3), Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt argued that it was far too late to consider enumerating private American citizens in the 2000 census and reiterated basic concerns about conducting the count (see below).
Lowenthal (2005) writes that “while they did not seriously consider last minute proposals to extend Census 2000 coverage abroad, legislators did pursue the idea with an eye toward the future”:
In 1999, in their reports on the Fiscal Year 2000 Commerce Department funding bill, both House and Senate appropriators directed the Census Bureau to develop a plan for counting overseas Americans in the census and to inform Congress of its progress.5 The following year, appropriators issued a more specific directive to the Census Bureau for a report on methodological, operational, and policy issues associated with including all American citizens living abroad in the census, as well as an estimate of the number of Americans living or working overseas, both for the federal
H.R. 2444 was introduced in the 106th Congress by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the ranking minority member of the House census subcommittee; a companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) as S. 1715. Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) and Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-MI) sponsored less-binding “sense of Congress” resolutions opining that all Americans residing abroad should be counted in the 2000 census as H. Con. Res. 129 and S. Con. Res. 38, respectively (Lowenthal, 2005).
House Report 106-283, p. 68; Senate Report 106-76, p. 77. The Senate report actually urges the Census Bureau to work with the State Department to include Americans living overseas in the 2000 census, but it is worth bearing in mind that the Senate had conducted no oversight of the issue and little oversight of census preparations generally. Committee report language is not legally binding.