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Court Rebuffs US Census Citizenship Question

June 28 2019

The US Supreme Court has rejected the Trump administration's reasoning for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 US Census. The President, now seeking a delay, tweeted: 'Can anyone really believe that as a great country, we are not able to ask whether or not someone is a citizen[?] Only in America!'

The court steps inThe controversy is based on whether Trump's administration can ask all recipients a citizenship question on the 2020 census for the first time since 1950. Critics, including non-profit trade body the Insights Association, argue that adding the question, without appropriate testing, will deter responses from immigrants, both legal and illegal, and could result in minorities being undercounted. Should this undercount occur, they say it could allow for electorate boundaries being redrawn and result in billions of dollars of funding being withheld form vulnerable communities across the US.

Commerce Secretary Wilburn Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, had given the reason for the administration wanting to include the citizenship question as an opportunity to gather 'better data' to enforce the Voting Rights Act (legislation against voter discrimination). However, Chief Justice John Roberts described this reason as 'contrived and a distraction', concluding that the Trump administration had not provided an adequate explanation for the question's inclusion. The court has now sent the case back to the federal trial court to consider evidence calling into question the Trump administration's alleged reason, which means the Commerce Department will still have a chance to explain itself.

With the questionnaires due to be printed next Monday, Trump tweeted yesterday that he has asked lawyers whether it's possible to delay the Census, until the US Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final decision.

All articles 2006-21 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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