The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, voted against President Donald Trump and his administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to each 2020 census questionnaire, according to The DailyMail, however, the news outlet reported that Roberts position might have changed at the last minute.
Questioning citizenship on the census was believed, by many civil rights activists, to discourage illegal immigrants and minorities from responding to the questionnaire, and could affect the distribution of power across congressional district lines, and government funding.
“The U.S. Constitution requires a count of the American population every decade – specifically, ‘within every subsequent Term of ten Years’ from the previous census,” the DailyMail reported.
“Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency runs the census, argued that knowing how many citizens are in the country, and where they live, is necessary to enforce portions of the Voting Rights Act.”
Justice Roberts wrote in his highly anticipated written ruling that “the decision to reinstate a citizenship question cannot adequately be explained in terms of DOJ’s request for improved citizenship data to better enforce the VRA.”
The court believed that Ross “‘began taking steps to reinstate the [citizenship] question a week into his tenure, but gave no hint that he was considering VRA enforcement.”
Both the government agencies can have “both stated and unstated reasons” for making decisions, the justices ruled in the end that, “the VRA enforcement rationale—the sole stated reason—seems to have been contrived.”
This decision came just months after a July report that Attorney General William Barr had found a way to keep legally add the citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 census, in spite of a Supreme Court ruling that was thought likely to block the inclusion of the question.
“In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to ask the controversial question. Barr would not detail the administration’s plans, though a senior official said President Donald Trump is expected to issue a presidential memorandum to the Commerce Department instructing it to include the question,” the AP reported.
Barr said during his interview that he has been working closely with President Donald Trump on the issue:
“I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” said Barr. He said he believes there is “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”
Written by Savannah Pointer.