Herring, coalition of state AGs, pushing Trump administration on 2020 Census

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A coalition of state attorneys general is challenging the Trump administration’s approach to the 2020 Census that they say will alter representation in Congress.

“This is the second time that President Trump has attempted to sabotage the census and illegally exclude millions from being counted,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a member of the coalition filing a motion for partial summary judgment or, alternatively, a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit to block the administration’s attempts to leave millions out of the population.

“The number of people who are counted as part of the census directly impacts the number of congressional representatives each state has and every single person living in Virginia and across the country deserves to be included and represented. I will continue to try and block every one of the Trump administration’s illegal attempts to politicize and undermine the census,” said Herring, who was part of a similar effort that last month filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the administration from politicizing the census and violating basic constitutional commands, and aiming instead to ensure the administration counts the “whole number of persons” residing in the country for apportionment, as the U.S. Constitution unambiguously requires.

The Fourteenth Amendment states that “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State…” The framers of the Fourteenth Amendment deliberately chose the phrase “whole number of persons” to refer to all persons living in each state — including the entire immigrant population.

More than 150 years of history, practice, and judicial and administrative precedents have since further confirmed that the apportionment of representatives must be based on all persons living in each state, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

Previously, Herring successfully blocked the administration’s attempts to sabotage the census with a poison pill citizenship inquiry that was clearly designed to suppress response rates especially among immigrant communities.

Herring and his colleagues sued the Department of Commerce in April 2018 to protect the census, and successfully argued that the Trump Administration was not being honest about its motivations for including a citizenship question.


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