Trump Admin Asks SCOTUS To Take Up Census Citizenship Question ASAP

The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
January 22, 2019 4:07 p.m.

The Trump administration on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to deviate from normal practice and rule quickly on whether a citizenship question can be included on the 2020 Census.

The Justice Department, represented by Solicitor General Noel Francisco, is asking that the court provide a final ruling by the time the Census questionnaires are set to be printed in June.

The request follows a ruling last week from U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman blocking the addition of the citizenship question and accusing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of violating a “smorgasbord” of federal rules as he pushed for its inclusion. Ross ignored warnings from Census officials concerned that adding it would cut down participation in immigrant communities, leading to a less accurate count and a skewed allocation of government resources.

According to Francisco, following standard protocol and appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit would not allow the Supreme Court enough time to issue a final ruling on the matter.

“The government must finalize the census questionnaire by the end of June 2019 to enable it to be printed on time,” he told the court a Tuesday filing. “It is exceedingly unlikely that there is sufficient time for review in both the court of appeals and in this Court by that deadline.”

Francisco noted that Furman’s ruling referred to the decennial census as a “matter of national importance” with “massive and lasting consequences”—considerations that merited this deviation from standard practice.

The case in New York was brought by some 18 states, several cities, and a number of civil rights groups. Other states have also sued over the citizenship question.

Read the full Justice Department filing below.

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