The decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census could affect how many U.S. Representatives every state gets to send to Congress in the next decade. Some states will gain while others lose. But I am of the mind that any gains or losses should reflect an accurate census, not one that intentionally leaves out huge swaths of the population.
You can get caught up on the importance of the citizenship question HERE, but the status of the question is that the Supreme Court heard oral arguments back in April and we’ve been waiting for them to hand down their final decision.
That is, until evidence came to light that Trump’s administration, and specifically Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, had lied about the reason for including the citizenship question. At the end of May, some documents from Thomas Hofeller’s hard drive were published that showed that the GOP operative (who passed away last year) not only worked on the Republican gerrymandering that has given them such an electoral advantage, but also made the argument that adding a citizenship question would similarly benefit Republicans and white communities.
Lawyers from the organizations who brought the case to the Supreme Court has asked for this new evidence to be considered in the lower courts before SCOTUS rules on the citizenship question.
Yesterday, a federal judge issued a court order to say that the request for a reconsideration of their claims “raises a substantial issue.” This order and additional details which we are waiting on, could block the citizenship question for the time being.
“The court’s willingness to reconsider its prior decision on the equal protection claim underscores the game-changing significance of the Hofeller files,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Shankar Duraiswamy of the law firm Covington & Burling in a written statement. (from NPR)
This critical story is going to get hotter in the coming days. Secretary Ross wants to start printing the census forms beginning on July 1, and SCOTUS will end this session in late June/early July. Time is of the essence.
If you want to stay on top of this story and are on Twitter, I recommend that you follow Hansi Lo Wang, as he covers the Census and always seems to have the latest information.