In a ruling two weeks ago, the Supreme Court said the administration had not justified its support for a citizenship question, and it sent the matter back to the Commerce Department. The administration could come up with a new justification and re-litigate the issue, but that could take months.
Groups that had sued the government over the citizenship question said the Trump administration is simply trying to evade the Supreme Court decision.
Many recipients won’t respond to the census if a citizenship question is included, these groups have said, leading to undercounts – which, they said, is the goal of the Trump administration.
Counting fewer minorities, they said, will make it easier for Republicans to draw congressional districts to their liking.
Trump and aides have said the U.S. is entitled to know how many citizens are in the country.
In a case decided by a 5-4 vote, Chief Justice John Roberts said he did not find the administration’s justification for the question to be credible. The administration had said it needed citizenship data to help prepare for voting rights cases, even though Trump’s team has yet to engage in that kind of litigation.
Trump and his allies said that Roberts, in citing the reasoning for the citizenship question rather than the question itself, left the door open for a re-hearing of the case under a new justification.
“Essentially, he said, ‘come back,'” Trump told reporters last week. “We’ll see what happens.”
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