The US Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a challenge to the Trump Administration’s citizenship question on the 2020 census. Arguments are set for the second week of April.
A district court previously enjoined the Secretary of Commerce from including the question due to a violation of Administrative Procedure Act §701. The lower court said that, while the Department of Commerce has broad discretion in the questions they can ask, the Secretary’s actions must be reasonable and reasonably explained. The judge found that the question had “violated public trust” in the census process.
Opponents of the question argue that it will render a systematic under-counting of the population of Democratic leaning communities, hurting the party’s representation in Congress. The government’s complaint argues that the judiciary does not usually dictate the contents of the census and that the lower court acted contrary to precedent.
This case was taken by the court before it could be heard by the Court of Appeals, which is unusual. The Department of Commerce filed a motion to expedite the process before appellate judgement so that there is adequate time after the decision to print the questionnaires.