In a 9-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) sent the case surrounding the citizenship question on the 2020 census back to the lower court in New York. While complicated, the ruling is at least a short-term defeat for the Trump Administration.
The High Court did not agree with U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman’s reasoning, and gave the Commerce Department another chance to argue its point. But as a matter of logistics, the ruling means all residents will be interviewed for the 2020 census, and the citizenship question will not be on it.
“We do not hold that the agency decision here was substantively invalid. But agencies must pursue their goals reasonably,” the majority opinion states. “Reasoned decision-making under the Administrative Procedure Act calls for an explanation for agency action.”
“What was provided here was more of a distraction.”
Historically, the U.S. asked a citizenship question from 1820 to 1950. The citizenship question would be the same as the one posed in the annual American Community Survey (ACS). The U.S. Commerce Department uses the 10-year questionnaire to collects population data.
Data are used to determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, the number of electoral votes each state will have in the Electoral College, and to allocated roughly $600 billion in federal funding.
The only major difference between the census and the ACS is the sample size, with the ACS being a much smaller percentage of households than the actual census.
Worth noting, two-thirds (66%) of American adults support the government posing a citizenship question on the U.S. Census, a recent survey found. Only 23% disagreed, and 11% are undecided.
An overwhelming majority, at 89%, think it’s important for the government to get as accurate a count of the U.S. population as possible in the Census, including 67% who say it’s Very Important.
Just seven percent (7%) say an accurate count of the population is not very or Not At All Important.