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Jacob Campion and Janine Kimble
Jacob Campion and Janine Kimble

2019 Attorneys of the Year: Jacob Campion and Janine Kimble

When the Trump administration announced the addition of a citizenship question to 2020 census, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison joined 17 other states in suing the federal government.

Minnesota and the states alleged that the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau violated the law and the Constitution in adding the question, and argued it would cause an undercount of Americans, especially immigrants and refugees.

Jacob Campion and Janine Kimble led the case for the attorney general’s office. The lawyers worked closely with agencies and the state demographer’s office. “The census plays an important role in a lot of ways,” Campion said. “It affects congressional apportionment for the state. It’s used in state redistricting. It affects the flow of federal funds to states and a lot of state programs.”

Programs in several agencies depend on census-based formulas to equitably distribute money, he said. Even state money that funnels down to local government programs involves using census data for calculating funding levels, he said.

“We looked at how changes to the population would affect the distribution of funds,” Campion said. “The concern was the citizenship question would cause an undercount and certain places would not have an accurate representation of their population.”

An undercounted census would also hurt Minnesota’s chance of hanging on to an endangered congressional seat, the attorney general’s office has said.

Though the Supreme Court ruled against the citizenship question, an associated census case in Alabama remains in the courts. “We’re involved in that case, too,” Campion said.

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.

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