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July 18, 2019

Legal Fact Check explores legal enforcement of the census, consequences of boycott

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2019 — Official 2020 Census Day is April 1, when questionnaires, which are sent to every U.S. household, are due to be returned. But amid recent debate about adding a citizenship question to the census, there have been calls on twitter to boycott next year’s decennial census.

As a new ABA Legal Fact Check shows, individuals who avoid even a single question on the census could face potential criminal consequences, including a fine of up to $5,000, although there has not been a prosecution in nearly 50 years and only a handful of prosecutions in the history of the census.

The ABA Legal Fact Check posted today explores the law behind enforcement of the census and details two notable prosecutions some decades ago.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. For coverage of other timely issues in the news, these prior ABA Legal Fact Checks might be helpful:

  • Click here for legal backgrounder on contempt of Congress
  • Click here for under what circumstances, if any, a president would be above the law
  • Click here for legal look on the authority of a president to issue pardons
  • Click here on a president’s emergency powers
  • Click here on the limits of U.S. troops at the southern border
  • Click here on what legally constitutes the crime of treason

The URL for the site is Follow us on twitter @ABAFactCheck.

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