The Supreme Court Gives Trump Another Victory on the Census

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Posted: Dec 18, 2020 11:05 AM
The Supreme Court Gives Trump Another Victory on the Census

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

In a 6-3 ruling Friday morning, the Supreme Court threw out a challenge to President Trump's efforts to exclude illegal aliens from being counted in the 2020 census. In other words, the administration can move forward with plans to exclude them in the official U.S. population count, leading to properly allocated tax dollars and congressional seats. 

"This past July, the President issued a memorandum to the Secretary respecting the apportionment following the 2020 census. The memorandum announced a policy of excluding 'from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status,'" the majority opinion states. "This case arises from one of several challenges to the memorandum brought by various States, local govern- ments, organizations, and individuals. A three-judge District Court held that the plaintiffs, appellees here, had standing to proceed in federal court because the memorandum was chilling aliens and their families from responding to the census, thereby degrading the quality of census data used to allocate federal funds and forcing some plaintiffs to divert resources to combat the chilling effect." 

"As the plaintiffs concede, any chilling effect from the memorandum dissipated upon the conclusion of the census response period. The plaintiffs now seek to substitute an alternative theory of a 'legally cognizable injury' premised on the threatened impact of an unlawful apportionment on congressional representation and federal funding...As the case comes to us, however, we conclude that it does not—at this time—present a dispute 'appropriately resolved through the judicial process,'” the opinion continues. "At the end of the day, the standing and ripeness inquiries both lead to the conclusion that judicial resolution of this dispute is premature. Consistent with our determination that standing has not been shown and that the case is not ripe, we express no view on the merits of the constitutional and related statutory claims presented. We hold only that they are not suitable for adjudication at this time. The judgment of the District Court is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction."

Justices Elana Kagen, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented. 

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