It would seem obvious to most that if the Census Bureau can ask residents about their fertility and their race, it ought to be able to ask about fundamentally more important civic questions such as whether or not the respondent is a citizen.
Despite that easy logic, when the Trump administration attempted to add that question to the Census Bureau’s survey, they were sued. That suit has ended up in front of the Supreme Court, and now, thankfully appears to be close to a resolution on the side of the administration. Jessica Levinson, a professor of law at Loyola University, reports on the case for NBC:
The Supreme Court appears poised to hand Republicans an enormous victory this term. The balance of power in Congress and the winner of the next presidential election could both be, indirectly, decided by the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case.
The legal question in the case, United States Department of Commerce v. New York, hinges on whether the Department of Commerce, charged with administering the census, can ask respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens in the census questionnaire. The census counts the number of people who live in our country ever ten years. It determines how much federal funding, how many members of congress, and how many electors to the Electoral College are allocated to each district in the nation. Perhaps the two most important things states can get from the federal government are money and people (representatives and electors), and the census determines both.
The Census Bureau has indicated that as many as 6.5 million people may be not be counted if the citizenship question is included.
Hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding hang in the balance. And because the census determines the allocation of congressional seats and Electoral College votes, the outcome of federal elections (except in the senate) from 2022 until 2030 likely hang in the balance as well.
The Supreme Court must decide the case by the end of June. That is the time when the Census Bureau will start printing the 2020 census questionnaires.
Read more here.