Updated: Supreme Court Falls Short of Clarity on Census Citizenship Question

Those hoping for resolution of a major controversy impacting the 2020 Census, and all of the governance and policy decisions that depend on it, will have to wait.

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June 27, 2019, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Supreme Court of the United States

Phil Roeder / Flickr

"In a setback for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court on Thursday sent back to a lower court a case on whether the census should contain a citizenship question, leaving in doubt whether the question would be on the 2020 census," reports Adam Liptak.

"Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said the explanation offered by the Trump administration for adding the question — asking whether a person is a citizen — was inadequate. But he left open the possibility that it could provide an adequate answer," according to Liptak.

As noted by Liptak, the "practical implication" of the decision in the United States Department of Commerce v. New York must still be determined. Census forms will have to be printed soon, so the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, will have to make the case for the citizenship question quickly. Or it could just ignore the Supreme Court.

Update: The President of the United States has suggested delaying the Census as a reaction to the Supreme Court decision.

Thursday, June 27, 2019 in The New York Times

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