The Supreme Court said Friday it will give President Trump another chance to exclude “unlawful” immigrants from the 2020 census count in a case that targets the political power of California and other states with large immigrant populations.
The justices agreed to hear a special argument on November 30 to decide for a second time whether the census should consider citizenship or immigration status of residents. By then, Justice Amy Coney Barrett may be seated as the new ninth justice.
The Constitution says the once-a-decade census should count the “whole number of persons in each state” and use that data to divide up seats in the House of Representatives and allocate federal funds to states and localities.
Throughout U.S. history, that language has been interpreted to mean that all residents are counted, regardless of whether they entered the country legally.
Last year the high court in a 5-4 decision rejected the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the census.
But in late July, Trump announced that it will be the “policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status…to the maximum extent feasible.”
Democratic state attorneys in New York and several other states sued, arguing this policy violated the law and the Constitution. A three-judge court in New York agreed, blocking Trump’s move.
But the justices said they would hear an appeal in Trump vs New York, giving the administration an opportunity to revive Trump’s policy.