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Supreme Court remands Census citizenship question case

SCOTUSblog is live-blogging the release of the last decisions for this term of the Court. The decision is not straightforward. The case will be sent back to the Commerce Department for further explanation.

This is what Eric Citron says about the Census case:

Here’s how I would characterize the bottom line on the census: The Court has rejected the proposition that it is impossible for Commerce to add a citizenship question, but it has also held that it does not believe the voting-rights related justification that Commerce offered. That means Commerce could get another chance to justify its decision. Whether it has the time to do that is a practical question, not a legal one.

And this is what Kevin Russell says:

In rulings that favor the Government, the Court holds: (1) the Enumeration clause permits a citizenship question; (2) the Secretary’s decision is reviewable under the APA; (3) adding the citizenship question was supported by substantial evidence; (4) adding the question did not violate the two provisions of the Census Act New York has cited.

Get ready for an avalanche of responses…

Update: Lowenthal first out of the gate

Staff members of Alan Lowenthal (D-CA47) are johnny-on-the-spot this morning with responses to just announced Supreme Court rulings.

Here is Rep. Lowenthal’s response to the Census case:

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA47) today issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the Trump Administration efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census:

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court saw through the contrived story that the Trump Administration concocted to try to insert a citizenship question into the census, and sent it back to the Department of Commerce. However, I am disappointed that the ruling still allows the administration a future opportunity to achieve the same goal of discouraging participation by communities of color.

“The evidence is clear: the Trump Administration was seeking to deliberately undercount immigrants and foster distrust in the census, despite the constitutional demand that the census count all residents, including all citizens, legal residents, and non-citizens–all residents. Ensuring a fair census count is critical for every aspect of our lives, from the health of our democracy to the accuracy of government data. Even Chief Justice Roberts agreed that the Department of Commerce behaved improperly.

“Evidence from the GOP architect of the census citizenship question clearly showed that the Trump Administration’s goal from the start—in including the question—was to disenfranchise communities of color and gerrymander out their voice. The results of the census help allocate Congressional representation, electoral votes, government funding, and are essential to long-term economic planning. The census must be as accurate as possible. Everyone must be counted.”

Update: Harley Rouda response

Staff members for Harley Rouda (D-CA48) were a bit slower than staffers for Alan Lowenthal in issuing an official response to the ruling on the Census citizenship question:

In a victory for the founding principles of our Democracy, the Supreme Court blocked the Trump Administration’s inclusion of a so-called citizenship question, a pretext for political tampering with the U.S. Census. We already know who in the United States is a citizen through administrative data. The real aim of the question was to advantage one party in elections at the expense of representation for Americans like my constituents of Vietnamese and Latino heritage in Orange County. The strategy also would have decimated access to federal funding for critical health care, housing, and infrastructure programs in the region.
FWD: ⏰ The time is NOW: 3 days left!
But the court did not shut the door on this strategy altogether. We must keep guard against any further efforts of political tampering, and exercise the necessary oversight of the census to ensure an accurate count of our population, as the framers envisioned.

Update: Tom Umberg response

Tom Umberg (D-CA34) is a California State Senator. The Census is a federal issue, but Democrats in California most sincerely want to tar President Trump (and his supporters, and anyone more conservative than John Hickenlooper) as racist. Here is Umberg’s response to the Supreme Court ruling on the citizenship question for the 2020 Census:

Chair of the California Census Committee, Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana) issued the following statement today following the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on the census citizenship question. The court said the Trump Administration’s explanation for adding the question about citizenship is insufficient, and sent it back to the lower courts for further consideration.

“The Supreme Court made the correct decision to not add the citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census, but the fight is not over, and we will remain vigilant.”

“Donald Trump began his candidacy by attempting to ostracize, undermine, and demonize major portions of the population, particularly here in California,” said Senator Umberg. “He has used the census as a vehicle to carry out this divisive strategy. The clear purpose of adding the citizenship question to the census was to undermine the State of California.”

“The inclusion of the citizenship question is an insidious way to not count every resident of our state. It is a way to undercount, and thereby not devote the resources normally allotted per capita, as a result of the 2020 census,” said Senator Umberg. “If Californians do not participate in next year’s census, the Trump Administration wins.”

Okay, so State Senator Umberg is Chair of the California Census Committee so maybe he should have an opinion. But look carefully at the phrasing. Democrats want to increase not only their presence in Congress but also the amount of federal money sluiced into the state, both of which depend on the Census — which counts heads, not residents. Undocumented immigrants qualify to be counted in the Census. The more, the merrier!

Update: Gil Cisneros response

As a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Gil Cisneros (D-CA39) responds to the Supremem Court ruling on the census case:

Today, Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to block an additional citizenship question to the 2020 Census:

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling to temporarily block the administration’s citizenship question on the 2020 Census,” said Rep. Cisneros. The Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years, and it should be our goal to ensure that every individual in the United States is counted. The citizenship question was nothing more than an attempt by the President to depress the number of individuals and families who would complete the census.

“Rather than discouraging people, the President should be working to ensure the Census Bureau is completely funded, fully staffed, and has the resources needed for a strong marketing campaign to encourage participation. Our work does not stop here, I will continue to reach out to the communities in my district who have been undercounted and underserved so that they can receive the business investments and delivery of public services they need.”

Rep. Cisneros is member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and an executive board member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). In the recent Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill in H.R. 3055, the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations package, Congressman Cisneros co-led amendment #86 with Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) which would prohibit funds from being used to violate the Census Bureau’s confidentiality policies, this amendment was included in final passage bill. He also led a press conference with local diverse community organizations and leaders to highlight the importance of an accurate census count.