Sunday, April 21, 2024

Federal Judge rules adding citizenship question to Census is unlawful

A federal judge in New York has struck down the Trump administration’s proposal to reintroduce a citizenship question into the 2020 census.

The ruling effectively puts a freeze on a deeply contentious move that critics said would discourage non-citizens from participating in the Census. Judge Jesse Furman said earlier today that the proposal is “unlawful,” writing that “(Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’) 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.”

The administration is likely to appeal the ruling. The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a portion of the case next month, saying it will review whether the challengers can introduce evidence outside of the official record, including the testimony of a senior Justice Department official.

The case was a challenge to Ross’ decision to add the citizenship question brought by the state of New York. At least two other cases, one in California and another in Maryland, challenging the citizenship question are underway.

At the heart of the case is how the reintroduction of the citizenship question to the 2020 census will affect the data the government gathers. The Census is a crucial document for determining how federal funds are allocated and how congressional districts are drawn for the following 10-year period.

The census is meant to account for everyone living in the United States, not just US citizens. The citizenship question has not been asked of all recipients since 1950.