The Trump Administration, in the person of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, sought to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census at the request of the Justice Department, in the person of John Gore, the acting head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. The state rationale was to allow enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
The Constitution requires that a census be conducted every ten years in order to reallocate Congressional representation. Additionally, a multitude of federal funding is based on Census data.
The citizenship question is opposed by a coalition of States — including California. Those States filed a lawsuit in New York, asserting that the question will scare off undocumented aliens from participating in the Census. Since Congressional representation is based on general population, not on citizens only, lowered participation in the Census would skew Census counts lower than actual population.
Those opposing the question accuse the Trump Administration of planning to use the Census data to identify undocumented aliens for deportation despite privacy laws guaranteeing that no personally identifiable Census data can be released until 72 years have passed after gathering the information.
Opponents of the citizenship question wanted to get depositions from Ross and Gore.
The Trump Administration requested that the Supreme Court block the requested depositions.
According to SCOTUSblog, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in charge of requests to the Supreme Court from the New York area, has placed the depositions on hold and “directed the challengers to respond to the government’s request by 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 11. Her order will remain in effect until either she or the full Supreme Court acts on the request.”
This matter, if taken up by the full Court, will be the first time that Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh will participate in a question involving the Trump Administration. Watch for partisan calls for him to recuse himself.