Tuesday, 20 October, 2020

Justices to weigh Donald Trump census plan to exclude non-citizens

SCOTUS Set To Weigh Trump Census Power Grab Before Inauguration Supreme Court to consider Trump effort to exclude undocumented residents from Census count
Deanna Wagner | 18 October, 2020, 12:36

And now the justices have expedited consideration to hear oral arguments in the case on November 30. By the time the justices rule, the Supreme Court could have a 6-3 conservative supermajority if Mr. Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is confirmed by the Republican-led Senate.

A three-judge federal court panel said in holding the policy illegal that never in US history have immigrants been excluded from the population count that determines how House seats, and by extension Electoral College votes, are divided among the states.

Throughout U.S. history, that language has been interpreted to mean that all residents are counted, regardless of whether they entered the country legally. "The Supreme Court rejected his attempt a year ago and should do so again", said Dale Ho, a lead plaintiffs' attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who successfully argued against the now-blocked citizenship question the administration wanted on the 2020 census forms.

Trump in July signed a presidential memorandum ordering undocumented immigrants - who recent estimates say number more than 10.5 million people across the country - be excluded from being counted when congressional districts are redrawn.

The high court also had the option to affirm or vacate the lower court order from a three-judge panel in NY without agreeing to hold arguments. New York, giving the administration an opportunity to revive the administration's policy. "The Supreme Court rejected his attempt previous year and should do so again".

The census itself does not gather data on citizenship or immigration status. The administration says it is exploring options such as using other government records to determine how many people to exclude.

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Last month, a lower court ruling blocked Trump's push, calling the presidential memo that called for that unprecedented change unlawful.

What is clear is that throughout Trump's presidency, the White House has targeted undocumented immigrants in general and California in particular and argued that the state's political power in the House and in the electoral college is inflated because of a large population of residents who are here illegally.

Once states are allocated the districts, the states themselves draw the districts, which will be used first in the 2022 congressional election.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By statute, the president sends Congress a report in early January with the population of each state and their entitled number of representatives.

A statement released by the bureau on Friday, however, leaves open the possibility that those numbers won't be delivered to the president by the December 31 deadline.