Today, the Supreme Court will be taking on the question of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. The decision they make could shift money and resources to devastating consequence that would be impossible to repair for another 10 years.
It is hard to overstate how important the Census is. Billions of dollars flow from the federal government to communities all over this nation based on how many people live there. Money for schools, for roads, for services, for so much. And, critically, how many congressional districts each state should have.
People move all the time. Some places are growing, others are shrinking. Shifting from rural or urban communities, in and out of states, or taking up permanent status here. Some of the states will lose some representation in Congress, while others stay the same or gain a Rep or two. It all gets determined by the Census, which happens every 10 years.
Why is the Census having its day in court? Well, the Trump administration wants to add a citizenship question to the Census, something that hasn’t been done for good reason for over 50 years. Adding the question would create a situation that severely undercounts the population by several millions, and thereby the amount of money going to those communities, and even how many Reps their state gets.
The ACLU, who is the organization that sued the federal government, put together a great, short video to explain:
In any case, the Trump administration, particularly Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who oversees the Census Bureau, lied about why they wanted to add the question. Don’t take my word for it, three lower courts have ruled that way. But the administration keeps appealing the decisions and now it is at the Supreme Court. You can read more about how we got here: The Supreme Court Could Shift Power to Republicans for the Next Decade
This is an incredibly important case, and it is my fervent hope that the Supreme Court upholds what the lower courts have already ruled–that the citizenship question should NOT appear on the 2020 Census.
I can recommend SCOTUS Blog as a good place to go to get an informed take on how the oral arguments went.