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State of Utah Challenges Certification of Census FiguresAired January 12, 2001 - 1:40 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Congressional approval of the 2000 Census is on hold. The House put off certification until a hearing is held next week on a court challenge by Utah. Now, that state says it was shorted an additional House seat because of the U.S. head count. If Utah wins in court, North Carolina will have to forfeit the seat it currently stands to gain. Under the recently announced 2000 Census numbers, North Carolina gets one more seat, bringing its membership to 14. Utah would stay the same, at three.
Joining us now to hash this out, the North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, he's from Raleigh, today; and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who is with us in Salt Lake City.
Mr. Shurtleff, first all, the House putting the certification of the vote on hold, that's -- would you say a victory of sorts for you?
MARK SHURTLEFF, UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think it is a victory, but it also shows our cooperation. We want to -- this is nothing personal General Cooper, you know that Roy.
ROY COOPER, NORTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Certainly.
SHURTLEFF: But this is our seat, and we expect -- we're going to do everything we can to keep it. And so, We're trying to cooperate to get this done as soon as possible and hopefully we'll have it heard by a three-judge panel before and resolved before April 1st.
WATERS: Now, as I understand it, the reason this has come up is because of Mormon missionaries operating overseas. I've seen anywhere from 10,000 to 14,000 of them, and that there are exceptions for military personnel, diplomats and federal employees and dependents living overseas, but not missionaries. General Shurtleff, have you taken this up with the Census bureau about why there is an exception for one but not the other?
SHURTLEFF: We have, in fact that's the very basis of the suit. It's really not about missionaries; it's about the rules for counting U.S. citizens temporarily living abroad. By arbitrarily saying that they're only going to count one segment of American citizens and exclude all others, that's arbitrary and I think that's unconstitutional on the very basis of our suit.
WATERS: And General Cooper, what's your counterargument? COOPER: Well, we have people of all faiths in North Carolina that are abroad; military people are abroad. They are placed there to serve their country, and we think it's fair to count the military, and it's really too late in the game to be bringing up this issue now. Over the last decade, any state could have challenged the rules, and if we come in now --
WATERS: Gentlemen, if you could wait just a second. We have some breaking news. We're going to back to this discussion in just a moment.
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