(UnitedVoice.com) – At stake in the 2020 Census is how many seats each state could add or lose in Congress. The results could make the difference between the House being controlled by conservatives or liberals for the next 10 years. Now, a new federal court ruling could drastically affect the outcomes of this latest tally.
A Little Background
On July 21, President Donald Trump ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to exclude illegal immigrants from the Census.
In response, two lawsuits were filed in New York by states, cities, and civil-rights groups. They argued that not counting illegal immigrants in the census could cause some states to lose congressional seats. According to a ruling announced on Thursday, September 10, a special three-judge panel of federal judges in New York, said the president’s order violates multiple laws.
The Ruling Is a Combination of Past Rulings and Process Problems
In June, the Trump administration lost a case at the Supreme Court because it did not correctly follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in initiating an action to rescind DACA protections. The court did not rule on the legitimacy of the action, and, in fact, cleared the administration to move forward once they cleared up the error.
Once again, it appears that a process issue partially caused the problem, not the principle behind the action. However, in this case, it’s also a problem caused by the Supreme Court. In June, the court ruled that the Census Bureau couldn’t ask people if they were illegal or legal immigrants. As a result, there isn’t a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.
To get around it, the Census Bureau used multiple sources and databases to match the information collected by the bureau with citizenship-verified records from federal and state agencies. That data would help them estimate how many people in a state were legal residents for determining congressional seat apportionments.
What’s in the Ruling?
First, the court-panel ruled that the order violated the law as it only allows a “tabulation of the total population by States” and not a segmentation. Second, the court said that it doesn’t matter if one is living in the United States, legally or illegally. They are to be counted as “persons in a State” as required by the Constitution, which does not distinguish the difference between legal and illegal status.
The administration has not yet said if it will appeal the ruling.
On Wednesday, September 9, the Census Bureau said over 88% of households completed the census. It noted that census workers counted 22.7%, and 65.5% responded online, by phone, or by mail.
If you still haven’t reported your census information, you can do so at the US Census Bureau Website.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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