President Trump will reportedly take executive action to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census. He is expected to make the announcement and provide details Thursday afternoon at the White House.
The White House will be hosting a very big and very important Social Media Summit today. Would I have become President without Social Media? Yes (probably)! At its conclusion, we will all go to the beautiful Rose Garden for a News Conference on the Census and Citizenship.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2019
The move comes after a judge blocked Attorney General Bill Barr from switching out the legal team that worked on the case presented to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled 5-4 that although including the question is legal, government attorneys did not adequately explain why it was being included.
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."
Conservative Supreme Court justices strongly rejected the majority's opinion in the case.
"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," Justices Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch argued in their dissent. "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."
The Trump administration is up against a census printing deadline and likely doesn't have enough time to re-litigate the issue in court.