Supreme Court Ruled on 2020 Census Citizenship Question

The Supreme Court of the United States heard the case called Department of Commerce v. New York on April 23, 2019. The Court revealed its ruling on June 27, 2019. This is the case about the controversial citizenship question that the Secretary of Commerce, Wilber Ross, wanted to add to the 2020 Census.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, wrote the opinion. All of the justices unanimously agreed that the procedural history of the case was accurate, and that at least some of the challengers had “standing”. That’s a legal term that means it is reasonable to conclude that harm would come to some people if the Department of Commerce was allowed to do what it wanted to.

The purpose of the census is the Enumeration Clause. It requires an accurate count of all of the people who live in the United States. The census must count citizens and non-citizens.

The population in a specific state or county determines how much federal funding is distributed to it, and how many Congressional Representatives they should have. A severe undercount would cause harm because it would result in inadequate funding and representation. There is concern that people who are not citizens will avoid the census, and this will result in incorrect enumeration.

The Supreme court determined that the Secretary of Commerce could choose to add a question to a census, but that courts are allowed to review the rationale for adding the question.

In short, the Supreme Court ruled (in a 5-4 decision), that Secretary Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census in order to provide data for the Voter Rights Act was “contrived”. The Supreme Court sent this back to the Department of Commerce to have them come up with a better explanation for the citizenship question.

This means that the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census is on hold.

Related Articles at

Third Judge Blocks Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

Second Judge Blocks Citizenship Question from 2020 Census

Citizenship Question on 2020 Census Blocked by Judge

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