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Trump asks to delay US census until Supreme Court rules again

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President Donald Trump said he would seek to delay the 2020 US census on Thursday after the US Supreme Court rejected his administration’s justification for adding a citizenship question to the census.

The Court’s decision, which sent the case back to a lower court, is a blow to the administration — but it may be temporary. Trump said the administration of the census should be delayed “no matter how long” until the high court is able to revisit the issue.

“Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020,” he tweeted on Thursday afternoon.

He went on, “I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter. Can anyone really believe that as a great Country, we are not able the ask whether or not someone is a Citizen. Only in America!”

Read more: The Supreme Court just temporarily blocked the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census

The case, United States Department of Commerce v. New York, is one of the most closely-watched of the year, and the administration has had a tumultuous legal battle to include the controversial question.

Writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross didn’t give proper reasoning for adding the citizenship question, and was not truthful in his explanation to the courts.

Ross claimed under oath that he pushed to add the question “solely” in response to a request from the Department of Justice and only for the purpose of better enforcing the Voting Rights Act. But three federal judges ruled that Ross lied about his decision-making process.

The chief justice, a member of the court’s conservative majority, wrote that Ross “was determined to reinstate a citizenship question from the time he entered office; instructed his staff to make it happen; waited while commerce officials explored whether another agency would request census-based citizenship data; subsequently contacted the attorney general himself to ask if D.O.J. would make the request; and adopted the Voting Rights Act rationale late in the process.”

The four liberal justices joined Roberts in concluding, “Accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case.”

But the chief justice added the Trump administration could prevail in adding it if it gave a better explanation.

The push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census began when the Commerce Department persuaded the Justice Department to argue that it would be necessary to enforce the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Census Bureau’s internal research has found that a citizenship question would suppress census participation among Latinx and undocumented people, meaning that states and areas with high concentrations of such residents could stand to lose federal funding, congressional districts, and electoral votes.

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