Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

Constitutionality of State-Imposed Restrictions on Responses to Census Questions

Headnotes: 

The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution bars a state from imposing restrictions on its residents’ responses to questions contained in census form.

Specific limited grant of power in the Constitution does not preclude Congress from enacting broader census legislation under the Necessary and Proper Clause.

Statutory delegation to the Secretary of Commerce and Director of the Bureau of Census is not excessive, considering long history of census legislation and practice, and census forms are within that delegation.

Updated July 9, 2014