Supreme Court to take up case on census citizenship question

Judge blocks citizenship question on census

The Supreme Court will decide whether the Trump administration can add a new question on the 2020 Census asking whether the respondent is a U.S. citizen. Opponents of the question argue that its addition would depress census responses in households with undocumented immigrants. Because the census count is relevant for congressional district and electoral college apportionment, having an undercounted population could affect a state’s political power.

New York state announced a lawsuit along with over two dozen cities and states challenging the added question in May 2018. Several other lawsuits were filed opposing the administration’s action to add the citizenship question. A district court judge in New York ordered the Trump administration to drop the question in January. The administration then asked the Supreme Court to take up the issue.

“Secretary Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census — even if it did not violate the Constitution itself — was unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons and must be set aside,” U.S. District Court Judge Jess Furman wrote in a court filing made public in January, referring to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “To conclude otherwise and let Secretary Ross’s decision stand would undermine the proposition — central to the rule of law — that ours is a “government of laws, and not of men.”

Ross has agreed to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee about the decision to include the question. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform plans to hold a hearing to discuss the controversial question in March.

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