Supreme Court suspends arguments over 2020 census citizenship question. 30 congressional seats could be at stake.

 

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On Friday the Supreme Court suspended a scheduled hearing regarding whether plaintiffs in an ongoing case against the Trump administration can compel Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to explain to a court why he last year chose to try and add a citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 census.

Following the announcement of Ross’s decision last year, a coalition of Democrat cities, states, and interest groups sued the Trump administration, arguing that adding a citizenship question to the census would discourage minority participation and violate the U.S. Constitution.

During the litigation that followed, the plaintiffs demanded that Ross be brought into court and forced to explain his reasoning for wanting to add a citizenship question to the census.

This demand wound up making its way to the Supreme Court, which in November said it would go ahead and consider the issue during oral arguments scheduled for Feb. 19.

But the high court reversed course Friday, three days after U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman of New York ruled that the administration must stop its plans to add a citizenship question.

“[Ross] failed to consider several important aspects of the problem; alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him; acted irrationally both in light of that evidence and his own stated decisional criteria; and failed to justify significant departures from past policies and practices — a veritable smorgasbord of classic, clear-cut APA violations,” Furman wrote in his ruling.

Because the judge essentially gave the plaintiffs exactly what they had sought, there’s no need anymore for the commerce secretary to testify — or at least not now.

“The Supreme Court had planned to consider a preliminary issue in the case. Friday’s decision to drop the February session doesn’t preclude the court from scheduling arguments later this spring if the Trump administration seeks review,” Bloomberg notes.

What is now of grave concern — particularly to the Trump administration — is Furman’s ruling. Unless it’s successfully appealed or overruled by the summer, the government won’t have enough time to print the forms needed for next year’s census.

The good news for those Americans like Fox News host Tucker Carlson who believe that the census should only count U.S. citizens is that the administration has already filed an appeal:

The bad news is that going through the lengthy appeals process may take too long,  meaning it may be necessary for the administration to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

It’s unclear whether the administration plans to do this, though it’s clear to Carlson, among others, that it’d probably be the best course of action.

“The purpose of the census in the Constitution is to apportion congressional districts,” he noted Tuesday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“We think there are about 22 million people in our country illegally. The average congressional district is about 710,000. So that’s the equivalent of over 30 congressional seats. That makes a huge difference whether or not you count — it makes a difference potentially of who controls Congress.”

Listen to some of his commentary below:

The host’s guest, civil rights attorney Robert Patillo, skipped over Carlson’s points and noted some concerns with the Trump administration’s attempt to add a census question: the fact that it missed a deadline and the fact that its justification was legally weak.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING …

While Carlson accepted Patillo’s concerns, he reiterated his core contention.

“It belies the actual debate, which is do we have a right to know who is in our country? And Democrats are arguing that we don’t actually have a right. … The question is again, do we as a country have the right to know who’s in our country?” he said.

Listen to the rest of the discussion below:

While the media does not appear to have performed any polls to see how the public at large feels about this issue, the sentiment on social media suggests most agree with Carlson.

Look:

HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING …

Vivek Saxena

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