It is illegal for the government to ask whether a person is a citizen or not on the national census, a judge ruled on Wednesday afternoon.
This decision blocks President Trump as he was seeking to add the question on the 2020 census which would ask if someone living in the country is a citizen.
As the Hill reports, Judge Richard Seeborg for the Northern District of California said the Trump administration did not show enough of a reason to ask the question.
“Secretary Ross’s reliance on [Voting Rights Act] enforcement to justify inclusion of the citizenship question was mere pretext and the definition of an arbitrary and capricious governmental act,” Seeborg said in the decision, the Hill reports.
“Moreover, Secretary Ross’s conclusion that adding the citizenship question would enable the Census Bureau to obtain more ‘complete and accurate data’ in response to the [Justice Department’s] request is not only unsupported, it is directly contradicted by the scientific analysis contained in the Administrative Record,” Seeborg continued, per the report.
“What ensued was a cynical search to find some reason, any reason, or an agency request to justify that preordained result,” Seeborg also said.
California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra applauded the judge’s ruling, saying the question could deter noncitizens from participating in the poll and subsequently give an inaccurate count of the country’s population.
“Justice has prevailed for each and every Californian who should raise their hands to be counted in the 2020 Census without being discouraged by a citizenship question,” Becerra said, the Hill reports.
He continued: “We celebrate this ruling, an important step in protecting billions of dollars meant for critical services Californians rely on, from education, to public health and safety. And we will ardently defend this important judgment to safeguard fairness in funding and representation for California and its local communities.”
Here’s even more from the Hill:
The decision is the second blow to the Trump administration’s push to include the question, after a New York judge made a similar ruling in January.
The Supreme Court is due to take up the issue in April, after justices agreed to skip the appeals process following the New York decision.
The Department of Commerce argued the question was included in order to aid enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
Some people online commented that a government has every reason to ask whether or not someone in the country is a citizen: