19 W. St. U. L. Rev. 1 (1991-1992)
The Decennial Census

handle is hein.journals/wsulr19 and id is 7 raw text is: WESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY
LAW REVIEW
VOLUME 19                          FALL 1991                           NUMBER 1
The Decennial Census
Stephen Krtiger *
INTRODUCTION
Census is a misnomer, for the Constitution requires an enumera-
tion. The difference is critical. A census is a general inquiry, while an
enumeration is a head-count. The United States' asserts that it may con-
duct a decennial census, rather than a decennial enumeration, and its
Census Bureau2 demands multifarious information from individuals.
However, the individual does not, and does not want to, live in a
fishbowl. He has a great stake in maintenance of the integrity of infor-
mation about his family, his lifestyle and himself.
A measure of the essential nature of confidential information is a
government's attitude to it. The United States has secret and sensitive
information, ranging from military contingency plans to intergovernmen-
tal understandings. The information is guarded, and it is a felony to ob-
tain classified material without authorization.' For the individual citizen
as for the United States, secrets and sensitive data retain their character
only if there is no obligation to disclose them to anyone. Three may
keep a Secret, proverbial wisdom informs us, if two of them are
* Member of the New York Bar. Copyright 1991 Stephen Kriiger.
This article could not have been written without the benefit of the exemplary word-processing
skills of Sandra L. Groves. The personal attention of Jeri Thompson, Esq., to the editorial process
was invaluable. The author expresses his gratitude to both women.
1. United States, not federal, denotes the government established by the Constitution. In
1787, federal meant a confederation of sovereign States. National meant a strong central gov-
ernment. The consolidationists stole the federalists' thunder by calling themselves Federalists and
misrepresenting the federalists as Anti-Federalists. Use of federal as a synonym of United
States, and use of Government to refer to the United States (as if State governments do not exist),
illustrate the extent to which the United States, an entity of delegated powers, freed itself from its
constitutional restraints.
2. The Bureau of the Census is a unit of the Department of Commerce. 13 U.S.C. § 2 (1988).
3. 18 U.S.C. § 798 (1988). Classifications and procedures for classifying are set forth in Exec.
Order No. 12,356, 3 C.F.R. 166 (1982) and Order, 3 C.F.R. 257 (1982).

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