Trump administration plans to appeal second census lawsuit to Supreme Court

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it plans to take a second fight over citizenship and the 2020 census to the Supreme Court.

The challenge is to the injunction issued last week blocking the Commerce Department from carrying out President Donald Trump’s directive to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count used to allocate seats in Congress.

The panel had ruled that Trump’s order is “an unlawful exercise of the authority granted to the President” under the laws that set out how congressional seats are apportioned. The court did not decide if Trump’s memorandum violates the Constitution. The July memorandum did not change who would be counted in the 2020 census, which counts every person.

In addition to the Supreme Court, the government said it would take the case to the full 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case is the second involving the 2020 census that the Trump administration has appealed to the high court. Last year, the court ruled against the administration’s effort to add a question on citizenship to the survey, concluding the administration did not properly explain why it wanted the question.

As a result, the President directed the Commerce Department and Census Bureau to collect other government data on citizenship, and in July ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to present him with two counts: a count of the entire population and a second tally that excludes “aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.”

The administration argued the President has discretion to decide the composition of the tally used to divide up congressional seats. But the coalition of groups and local governments suing the administration argued that excluding immigrants was not part of that discretion and would cause their communities to lose federal government funding and political power.

The administration is also fighting a lawsuit over its decision to cut short the window to respond to the 2020 census. A federal judge in California has temporarily prohibited the Census Bureau from winding down operations while aspects of that case play out.

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