Supreme Court Debates Census Citizenship Question

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Currents News Staff

There were demonstrators outside the Supreme Court, while inside, Justices heard arguments in one of the term’s most controversial cases.

The Trump administration wants to include a question for all recipients about their citizenship, something that hasn’t happened since 1950.

Challengers say it’s designed to intimidate non-citizen immigrants, and suppress participation.

“Fundamentally the census is a measure we use to deliver on one of our nation’s core tenets, and that is the promise of fairness,” said Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General.

The census, taken every ten years, determines allocation of congressional seats and electoral college votes, and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funding.

The White House has maintained the citizenship question has been on some forms for decades, with the exception of 2010, and is crucial to reinforcing federal voting rights law.

On March 27, 2018 White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders said “This is something that has been part of the census for decades, and something that the Department of Commerce felt strongly needed to be included again.”

Three lower courts have ruled to block the question from appearing on the census form.

During arguments Tuesday, conservative Justices seemed to suggest the administration is within its rights to include it, while liberal Justices honed in on how it could reduce respondents.

The Supreme Court term is scheduled to end before the census bureau plans to begin printing forms on July 1.