SCOTUS Blocks Citizenship Question

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to block a citizenship question on the 2020 census – for now – in a significant defeat to President Trump.

The majority opined that the administration’s explanation for adding the question was insufficient and sent it back to the lower courts for further review. 

The ruling is not final although an undeniable setback. It seems unlikely the administration will get the question on the census before the Department of Commerce’s summer deadline.

Fox News further reports:

The 5-4 court majority raised concerns about the Trump administration’s explanations for their proposal. The ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, said that the court was presented “with an explanation for agency action that is incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decisionmaking process.”

He added that the court “cannot ignore the disconnect between the decision made and the explanation given.”

The Supreme Court majority concluded the executive branch has broad authority to decide what goes onto the census, saying the survey routinely asks a range of questions on the form, beyond the number of people in a household. Roberts wrote  that “neither respondents nor my colleagues have been able to identify any relevant, judicially manageable limits on the Secretary’s decision to put a core demographic question back on the census.”

But the opinion said “the evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation the [Commerce] Secretary gave for his decision.”

The case, Department of Commerce v. New York was the most closely watched during the Supreme Court’s current term.

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