Supreme Court To Consider Citizenship Question On Census

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider whether the Commerce Department can proceed with its plan to ask people about their citizenship in the 2020 Census.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in New York blocked the Trump administration from questioning people about citizenship.

Furman ruled that the administration's decision to add a citizenship question was “arbitrary and capricious,” and that the question would likely result in undercounting “certain sectors,” including “people who live in households containing noncitizens and Hispanics.”

The ad industry weighed in last year against including a question about citizenship in the Census.

“We are concerned that the addition of a citizenship question would depress response among both non-citizens and their families (even if family members are indeed citizens),” the CEOs of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, American Advertising Federation, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and Advertising Research Foundation wrote in a jointly signed letter sent to the Commerce Department last August.

Days after Furman blocked the question, the Justice Department petitioned the Supreme Court to hear an appeal.

“The judgment below takes the unprecedented step of striking a demographic question from the decennial census and thereby preventing the Secretary of Commerce from exercising his delegated powers,” the government wrote in a petition filed with the Supreme Court late last month.

The government added that it was seeking immediate Supreme Court review because Census questions must be finalized by this June.

The Trump administration argued in its petition that the decision to ask people about their citizenship was not arbitrary and capricious.

“A question asking about citizenship or country of birth (or both) has a long pedigree on the decennial census,” the DOJ wrote in its petition.

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