BREAKING: Conservative Justices Rip Supreme Court For Interfering in 2020 Census

Posted: Jun 27, 2019 10:41 AM
BREAKING: Conservative Justices Rip Supreme Court For Interfering in 2020 Census

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

In a blow to the Trump administration Thursday, the Supreme Court did not make a decision on whether a question about citizenship status can be included on the 2020 Census and ruled 5-4 to send it back to the lower courts for additional review. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the left of the Court.

However, the Court did not find the question to be a violation of the law, but instead didn't receive enough information from the Commerce Department and Secretary Wilbur Ross to make a decision. This leaves the door open for the citizenship question to be included on the census in the future.

"The Secretary’s decision to reinstate a citizenship question  is  amenable  to  review  for  compliance  with  those  and  other  provisions  of  the  Census  Act,  according  to  the  general   requirements   of   reasoned   agency   decision making,"Roberts wrote in his opinion. "At  the  heart  of  this  suit  is  respondents’  claim  that  the  Secretary  abused  his  discretion  in  deciding  to  reinstate  a  citizenship question."

"Altogether,  the  evidence  tells  a  story  that  does  not  match the explanation the Secretary gave for his decision," he continued. "Altogether,  the  evidence  tells  a  story  that  does  not  match the explanation the Secretary gave for his decision.  In the Secretary’s telling, Commerce was simply acting on a  routine  data  request  from  another  agency."

Meanwhile Justices Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch argue in their dissent the Supreme Court's only role was to determine whether Commerce Secretary Ross was breaking the law by including a question about citizenship. The court found he did not break the law in doing so. 

"The  Court’s erroneous decision in this  case is bad enough, as it unjustifiably interferes with the 2020 census.  But the implications of today’s decision are broader.  With today’s  decision,  the  Court  has  opened  a  Pandora’s  box  of  pretext-based challenges in administrative law," they wrote. "In short, today’s decision is a departure from traditional principles of administrative law.  Hopefully it comes to be understood  as  an  aberration—a  ticket  good  for  this  day  and this train only."

"Because  the  Secretary’s  decision  to  reinstate  a  citizenship question on the 2020 census was legally sound and a reasoned  exercise of his broad discretion, I respectfully dissent from Part V of the opinion of the Court," they concluded (bolding is mine).

Census forms will be printed on July 1 and due to time constraints and an unlikely review before then, a question about citizenship is unlikely to be included.

This is a breaking story, stay tuned for updates. This post has been updated with additional information.