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    Census Tag

    After the recent Supreme Court decision ruling that the Commerce Department had not given a sufficient explanation for a Census citizenship question, there still was a possibility that the Trump administration could pursue a new explanation. After all, the question itself was held substantively lawful, it was the process that was the problem. We covered the possibilities for a do-over in Chief Justice Roberts shot down Census citizenship question, but it’s not dead yet.

    On the morning of June 28, 2012, CNN and Fox News initially told viewers that the Supreme Court had struck down the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, not yet realizing that the court had saved it as a tax. Fox’s Shannon Bream declared that the mandate was “gone” and for six minutes a CNN chyron blared, “Individual Mandate Struck Down.”

    In a complicated ruling, the Supreme Court substantially upheld the inclusion of a census question regarding citizenship, but procedurally held that more inquiry was needed into C0mmerce Dept. reasoning in seeking to add the question. So the bottom line is that there might be a citizenship question, but it's unclear if there is time to get it resolved under deadlines for printing census forms.

    The Supreme Court will soon decide whether the Trump administration can include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census. It might seem strange that such a matter is before the Supreme Court at all. But when the Trump administration explored adding the question it was not...especially solicitous, shall we say, about following administrative law. Nevertheless, the government argues that it is entitled to significant deference on how to best design the census and, after the oral argument in April, most observers got the impression that the five conservative justices agreed. 

    The Supreme Court heard oral argument on the issue of whether the Commerce Department can add a citizenship question to the Census.  Various District Courts ruled against the Trump administration, and the administration sought the unusual remedy of direct review by the Supreme Court. We previously covered the issues in our post when the Supreme Court granted direct review, Supreme Court agrees to hear Census citizenship question case.

    In a long-awaited and predictable decision, Judge Jesse M. Furman in the Southern District of New York ruled Tuesday that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated federal administrative law when he decided to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Judge Furman, who was appointed by President Obama, barred the Census Bureau from inquiring about citizenship on census questionnaires anywhere in the country. There's a pretty good chance that this decision stands. 

    On Monday night, the Supreme Court granted the Trump administration’s request to shield Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from being deposed in a lawsuit over the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. But the Court declined to block the deposition of acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore, as the administration had also asked. It's tough to say whether the White House should view this compromise — presumably brokered by Chief Justice John Roberts—as a win, loss or draw. Time will tell what impact it has on the census litigation.