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Trump administration to ask Supreme Court to decide census dispute

11 Comments
By Andrew Chung and Lawrence Hurley

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration said on Tuesday it will urge the Supreme Court to rule by the end of its term in June on a bid to implement a plan, blocked by a judge, to ask people in the 2020 national census whether they are U.S. citizens.

The Justice Department said in a court filing it will seek immediate Supreme Court review of the high-profile dispute even before a lower appeals court time has time to consider the case.

Opponents have accused the Trump administration of devising a citizenship question to use the census to pursue the political objectives of Trump's fellow Republicans by engineering an undercount of the true population and reducing the electoral representation of Democratic-leaning communities in Congress.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan ruled on Jan. 15 that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, concealed the true motives for his "arbitrary and capricious" decision to add the question in violation of federal law.

By seeking high court review before giving the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a chance to issue a ruling, the administration put its faith in the conservative-majority Supreme Court to hear and decide the matter in the coming months, as time is running out before the census forms must be printed in June.

"It is exceedingly unlikely that there is sufficient time for review in both the court of appeals and in this court by that deadline," Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, wrote in the filing.

The 18 states, 15 cities and various civil rights groups that filed a legal challenge against the administration said a citizenship question would scare immigrants and Latinos into abstaining from the count. Non-citizens are estimated to represent about 7 percent of people living in the United States.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census every 10 years to count the number of people living in the United States. The official population count is used in the allocation of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funds. There has not been a census question about citizenship status since 1950.

The Commerce Department announced in March 2018 that the government would include a citizenship question. Ross said the citizenship data was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act that protects eligible voters from discrimination. Only American citizens can vote in federal elections.

The Supreme Court previously rejected an administration request to halt the trial in the case, but in November agreed to hear an appeal seeking to limit the scope of the evidence Furman could consider in making his ruling.

The justices on Friday scrapped the scheduled Feb19 arguments after Furman issued his decision.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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The plain meaning of the Constitution is that all people are to be counted, not just citizens. The fact that citizens is used elsewhere in the Constitution to limit the rights it enumerates tell us that the people who wrote the Constitution and Amendments meant to distinguish between people and citizens. Ergo, if they had only meant for citizens to be counted in the census, they would have used citizen instead of people.

If you support originalism, you have to be against the citizenship question.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Constitution is clear that illegal immigrants aren’t supposed to be counted.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The Constitution is clear that illegal immigrants aren’t supposed to be counted.

Is this meant as a serious rebuttal? You provided no support for your rebuttal, which means it fails completely.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

But there's no hurry on ending the Trump shutdown.

Interesting priorities.

I don't think this administration is capable of doing anything that isn't constitutionally questionable.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why would they ask that question? The purpose it to count the number of bodies in the country.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why? Personally, I would like to know and have a breakdown as to who is in the country.

But there's no hurry on ending the Trump shutdown.

I guess there’s no hurry to fund the wall....

Interesting priorities.

I don't think this administration is capable of doing anything that isn't constitutionally questionable.

Now you guys know how we felt all those dreaded 8 years

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This is exhibit A as to why Dems support open borders and sanctuary cities. It’s all about political power. There is nothing un-Constitutional about asking if someone is a resident (legal or otherwise). In fact the question had been asked on Censuses in the past. It is a cynical and corrupt grab for power.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

In fact the question had been asked on Censuses in the past.

The last time a census included a citizenship question was 1950. It's hardly a recent thing, and considering some of the other things that were legal in 1950 but illegal now, and vice versa, I'd say it's a question that doesn't need to be brought back.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@CrazyJoe

But there's no hurry on ending the Trump shutdown.

I'm no fan of the administration or the shutdown, but these are pretty unrelated. There's no reason that one requires the other. There are many better arguments against this than "but the shutdown". Talk about how it's unnecessary for the requirements of a census and can undercut counting (as opposed to many other demographic questions which are unlikely, at this time, to cause people to underreport). The shutdown is not relevant to this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is exhibit A as to why Dems support open borders

This is exhibit A into the Delusion of the right.

The Democrats have never supported open borders. Literally never.

Some extreme leftists most definitely have, but don't confuse the extremists with the party, we're not talking the Republicans here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is nothing un-Constitutional about asking if someone is a resident (legal or otherwise).

It's never been legally challenged until now, so the answer whether or not it is unconstitutional does not yet exist.

In fact the question had been asked on Censuses in the past.

That doesn't mean it's constitutional. See above point.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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