As the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments over a controversial new census question, President Trump took to Twitter to share his thoughts.
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Trump said the question should be approved by the nation’s highest court because “the American people deserve to know” who lives in the country.
“MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Trump added in the tweet.
As ABC News reports, the question the Trump administration is seeking to add to the 2020 census concerns a person’s citizenship.
The question: “Are you a citizen?” was immediately sued for alleged discrimination and was eventually blocked by a previous court. The legal fight soon made its way to the conservative majority of the Supreme Court, who are hearing arguments this week.
From the report:
During the arguments, the administration’s top lawyer clashed with liberal justices.
“I’m sorry. It’s not been a part of the survey since 1960,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor protested, interrupting Solicitor General Noel Francisco as oral arguments began.
“It has been part of the census for a long time,” Francisco fired back. The decision to include it again “is well within [Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’] discretion.”
“This is about 100 percent that people will answer less,” Sotomayor shot back.
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New York state and several civil rights groups that sued Ross, who oversees the census, say his decision to add a citizenship question was “arbitrary and capricious,” flouting the best advice of experts and a politically motivated attempt to generate an undercount in heavily Democratic areas.
The census question—and how the Court ultimately rules on it—could have major implications for the House of Representatives. A state with a high migrant population, for example, may lose seats in the House, USA Today reports.
People arguing against the question claim it is not only discriminatory but will likely drive down the census count and inaccurately reflect the country’s actual population.
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The last time the Census Bureau asked everyone in the census about their citizenship status was in 1950. After that and until 2010, the citizenship question was asked only on the long form, a census subset that went to only one out of every six households.
Opponents called the citizenship question unconstitutional. They also said a reduced response rate among 22 million non-citizens in the U.S. would tilt the allocation of House seats and about $650 billion in federal funds from Democratic to Republican states and localities.
Reuters reports the court could likely rule in the Trump administration’s favor: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Tuesday appeared poised to hand President Donald Trump a victory on his administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a move opponents call a Republican effort to deter immigrants from taking part.”
Conservative justices signaled during arguments in the closely watched case a willingness to overturn a lower court ruling that blocked the question and appeared untroubled by the administration’s stated justification for using the citizenship question in the decennial population count. Their liberal counterparts expressed hostility toward allowing the question.
The court has a 5-4 conservative majority and has backed Trump in other high-profile cases. Conservative justices indicated a citizenship question would be eminently reasonable, noting that other countries use such questions and that the United States has done so in the past in one form or another.
Among the conservative justices indicating support for the administration’s stance were Trump’s two appointees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, and Chief Justice John Roberts, considered the court’s pivotal vote.
Opponents have said the question would cause a sizeable undercount by frightening immigrant households and Latinos from filling out the census forms, fearful that the information would be shared with law enforcement. This would cost Democratic-leaning areas electoral representation in Congress and federal aid, benefiting Trump’s fellow Republicans and Republican-leaning parts of the country, they said.
ABC News reports Kavanaugh noted during the arguments that a citizenship question regularly appeared on the census until 1950. He also noted that other major countries around the world have a citizenship question on their census, a recommendation of the United Nations.
According to ABC News, the Trump administration is closely watching the hearings and a decision is expected before the court’s term ends in June.