The Supreme Court Heard the Census Citizenship Question Case

The United States Supreme Court has heard a case called Department of Commerce v. New York. The case is about the controversial citizenship question that the Trump administration wants to add to the 2020 Census. The Justices of the Supreme Court engaged in roughly 80 minutes of intense debate.

The SCOTUS Blog (which is not written by the Justices of the Supreme Court) provided an analysis of what was said. You can download audio of the oral argument or read a transcript of the hearing.

According to the SCOTUS Blog, the federal government says that the Department of Justice wants data about citizenship to better enforce federal voting laws. U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco represented the U.S. Government.

But, the challengers in the case counter that asking about citizenship will lead to an inaccurate count, because households with undocumented or Hispanic residents may not respond. The challengers include a group of state and local governments and several civil rights groups.

New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood represented the state and local governments. Dale Ho, Director of the Voting Rights Project, ACLU, represented the civil rights groups.

U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco stated that the census has had a citizenship question on it for nearly 200 years. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out that the citizenship question hasn’t appeared on a census sent to households since 1950, because every secretary of commerce and every statistician has recommended against it.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan stated that she did not see any reasons for the current secretary of commerce to deviate from the Census Bureau’s experts. She said it seemed as though the Department of Justice’s need for the citizenship data was “contrived”.

A decision on the case is expected in the summer of 2019. SCOTUS Blog estimates that the Supreme Court will uphold the citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

Related Articles at

Citizenship Question on 2020 Census Blocked by Judge

Second Judge Blocks Citizenship Question from 2020 Census

Third Judge Blocks Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

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