CNA Staff, Dec 18, 2020 / 15:00 pm
The Supreme Court on Friday chose not to rule on a major Census case, temporarily allowing the Trump administration to continue with the process of enumeration.
The case of Trump v. New York involves the administration’s lawful ability to exclude undocumented immigrants from the overall population of states for the apportioning of seats in Congress based on states’ population. On Friday, the court said it was not yet ready for consideration.
The number of a state’s representatives in the House is determined by its population, which itself is determined by the decennial Census. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, representatives are apportioned “counting the whole number of persons in each State.”
In July, President Trump had issued a memorandum instructing that undocumented immigrants be excluded from the apportionment base; he ordered the Secretary of Commerce to provide him the information necessary to do so at his discretion and “to the extent practicable,” in addition to the information contained in the 2020 Census.
Trump, in his memo, stated that he “will not support giving congressional representation to aliens who enter or remain in the country unlawfully, because doing so would create perverse incentives and undermine our system of government.”
The U.S. bishops’ conference opposed the policy, stating that the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the apportion process “makes people feel invisible and not valued as human beings.”
States, local governments, and organizations sued over the memo, claiming that the action was unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel of a district court found that plaintiffs had a legitimate case, as excluding undocumented immigrants from apportionment could affect the Census count and that according to the law, apportionment is based on the “whole number of persons in each State.”