WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Supreme Court heard arguments in the Department of Commerce V. New York case on Tuesday.
At the heart of the debate on whether the Trump administration can add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census is why Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross decided to do it.
“He acted arbitrarily because all of the data, all of the data all of the evidence all of the reports, even his own staff indicated that this citizenship question would undermine the count,” New York Attorney General Leticia James said.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said it would be a solution in search of a problem. Questions about citizenship status were on the census previously but the question was dropped decades ago.
“This question on the census is going to cause 6.5 million people not to respond, they’re just going to vanish,” ACLU attorney Dale Ho said.
Three federal judges all ruled to stop the Trump administration from adding the question. The lawyer for the US House of Representatives told the justices the constitution is clear, that the point of the US census is to get a total count of the people in the United States, not a count for the number of citizens.
But the court’s conservative justices questioned whether some inaccuracies in the census count are worth gaining other data. Data that President Trump wants, according to Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley.