President Trump Insists His Administration is Still Pursuing a Question About Citizenship for the Census

Posted: Jul 03, 2019 11:33 AM
President Trump Insists His Administration is Still Pursuing a Question About Citizenship for the Census

Yesterday, it was reported the Trump administration plans to move forward with printing of the 2020 census without including a question about citizenship. The reporting was based on a statement from the Department of Justice. From The Hill: 

"We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process," DOJ attorney Kate Bailey wrote in an email sent to groups challenging the question, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill.

The move came after the Supreme Court ruled last week that although the Trump administration is legally capable of including the question, Commerce Department attorneys didn't explain the motive or reason behind adding it to the 2020 census. 

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.

Conservative justices on the Court ripped the decision and argued they were improperly interfering in the 2020 census.

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.

But today President Trump is insisting his administration is still pushing to have the question included.

At this point, it is unclear where the citizenship question stands.