Supreme Court Won’t Delay Next Week’s Census Citizenship Trial

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The Supreme Court has denied the Justice Department’s request that the court delay a trial starting in Manhattan on Monday over the Trump administration’s move to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the request to delay the trial, the court’s order on Friday said.

The Justice Department was previously successful in convincing the Supreme Court to halt a lower court’s order that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who made the decision to add the question, be deposed. However, the Supreme Court allowed the deposition of a top Justice Department official as well as additional discovery in the case ordered by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman.

The Justice Department this week asked the Supreme Court to delay the trial while the justices consider its petition to resolve whether “a district court may order discovery outside the administrative record to probe the mental processes of the agency decisionmaker.”

The trial beginning Monday is a consolidated case of lawsuits brought by the ACLU and a multi-state coalition led by New York. The administration faces other federal lawsuits challenging the move to add the question elsewhere in the country.

Those challenging the question argue that it will result in an undercount of immigrant populations, which will shift political representation and federal funding away from those communities. The Trump administration has said it added the question because the Justice Department needed it for Voting Rights Act enforcement — a justification that has been contradicted by the internal records that have been made public in the litigation.

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