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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Supreme Court allows court challenge on census citizenship question to go forward

    By Mark Sherman - Associated Press - Friday, November 2, 2018

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is allowing a trial over the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census to go forward over the Trump administration’s objection.

    The justices’ issued a brief order Friday rejecting the administration’s request to postpone the trial, set to begin Monday in New York.

    More than a dozen states and big cities, among others, have sued over Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a citizenship question to the census for the first time since 1950.

    The lawsuits argue that Ross acted improperly and that the question will discourage immigrants from participating, diluting political representation and federal dollars for states that tend to vote Democratic. The administration has said the question will allow the Justice Department to enforce the Voting Rights Act more effectively.

    Last week, the justices blocked the questioning of Ross in advance of the trial, but allowed other preparations to continue.

    The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman, said evidence suggests that Ross may have decided to add the question before asking the Justice Department to request it. He also cited proof Ross had overruled senior Census Bureau staff who concluded adding it was very costly and would harm the census count.

    “Most significant, the Court found reason to believe that Secretary Ross had provided false explanations of his reasons for, and the genesis of, the citizenship question,” Furman said.

    Last month, Ross, in a Justice Department filing, said he now remembers speaking with former senior White House adviser Steve Bannon last year about adding a citizenship question to the census. He also recalled discussing the matter with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the spring of 2017 and at other times, Justice Department lawyers wrote in the filing.

    Ross had previously testified under oath that he was unaware of discussions between himself and anyone in the White House on the subject.

    Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court pick, would have delayed the trial. The vote of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s other nominee, was not clear from the order, but it would have taken the votes of two more justices to prevent the trial from taking place.
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006


    6:08 PM 11/02/2018
    Kevin Daley

    The U.S. Supreme Court will not stop a legal challenge to the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 census, turning back a request from the Trump administration to stop proceedings on Friday afternoon.

    As is typical of decisions of this nature, neither the vote count nor the court’s reasoning was disclosed, though Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch indicated they would have granted the administration’s request to delay the trial. Five votes were necessary to stop the trial.

    The Supreme Court intervened in the case on Oct. 22 to lift a court order requiring Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to give a deposition in the case. At that stage of the litigation, Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the justices that the trial court had authorized “an intrusive fishing expedition involving the depositions of high-ranking government officials, including a cabinet Secretary.”

    A coalition of interest groups and Democratic state attorneys general sued the Trump administration at a Manhattan federal court in April after the Commerce Department added a citizenship question to the decennial census questionnaire — the U.S. Census Bureau is supervised by the Department of Commerce.

    Though the citizenship question was regularly incorporated into past surveys, it has not been featured in recent census questionnaires.

    Critics say the president’s hardline against illegal immigration will discourage minority groups from participating in the census, resulting in lost congressional seats and federal funding for blue states.

    In turn, the plaintiffs argue that Ross has offered competing explanations for the insertion of the citizenship question. For example, Ross denied that he had discussed the matter with anyone at the White House, before eventually acknowledging that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon broached the topic with him.

    The Constitution requires a census once every 10 years for apportioning seats in the House of Representatives among the states.

    The trial before U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman will begin Monday.
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