As much as Trump wants to violate the law and behave like the kind of dictators he admires, the U.S. court system still acts as an effective check on this lawless presidential administration.
JUST IN: A California judge has blocked the U.S. Census Bureau from adding a question about respondents' citizenship from the 2020 Census pic.twitter.com/9JSj3J0ijE
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) March 6, 2019
Despite Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s attempt to use the Voting Rights Act to justify the question, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of California ruled that the citizenship question that the Trump administration planned to add to the 2020 census is not constitutional and would cause harm to public services and American democracy. The court’s 126-page ruling said:
‘Secretary Ross’s reliance on [Voting Rights Act] enforcement to justify inclusion of the citizenship question was mere pretext and the definition of an arbitrary and capricious governmental act. Moreover, Secretary Ross’s conclusion that adding the citizenship question would enable the Census Bureau to obtain more ‘complete and accurate data’ in response to the [Justice Department’s] request is not only unsupported, it is directly contradicted by the scientific analysis contained in the Administrative Record.’
NEW: A second federal judge has ruled that the Trump Administration's addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census is unlawful.
And boy, what a way to begin an opinion. pic.twitter.com/WRYeSEenBt
— Jonathan Topaz (@JonathanTopaz) March 6, 2019
Such a question would cause census data to be inaccurate, which could affect everything from the size of school classes to the allocation of emergency funds in different state districts. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra wrote in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle:
‘The Trump administration is threatening to derail the integrity of the census by seeking to add a question relating to citizenship to the 2020 census questionnaire. Innocuous at first blush, its effect would be truly insidious. It would discourage noncitizens and their citizen family members from responding to the census, resulting in a less accurate population count.’
Breaking: a second federal court strikes down Trump admin's citizenship question on 2020 census, this time in California. Calls Wilbur Ross actions "arbitrary & capricious, an abuse of discretion, & otherwise not in accordance with law" https://t.co/goLEiDJr2P via @mjs_DC pic.twitter.com/DRRWGyTxSu
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) March 6, 2019
Judge Furman was not falling for the Trump administration’s attempts to justify the question by saying their concern is for minority voting rights and refused to allow the administration to compromise the census for political gain.
According to NPR:
‘The administration argues that the Justice Department wants responses to the question to better enforce Voting Rights Act provisions that protect racial and language minorities against discrimination. In his ruling against including the question, however, Furman found that to be a “sham justification.”‘
Judge finds citizenship question violates Enumeration Clause–a question that appeared on census in past. "The constitutionality of a particular governmental action may depend on the larger social context in which that action occurs" (citing Grutter) https://t.co/5RhVMpXi11 pic.twitter.com/bilzugK96I
— Josh Blackman (@JoshMBlackman) March 6, 2019