Supreme Court to hear arguments in case involving 2020 Census
The Trump administration, on its way out the door, could still have significant impact on congressional elections for years to come, through its continued efforts to undermine the 2020 Census.
A coalition of states, cities and counties will go in front of the United States Supreme Court today to make the case that excluding undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base will lead to the loss of congressional seats and presidential electors in the Electoral College, as well as degrade the quality of census data that states and local jurisdictions rely on to perform critical governmental functions.
The coalition, which includes Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, will argue that the administration must count the “whole number of persons” residing in the country for apportionment, as the U.S. Constitution and the Census Act unambiguously require.
“Even though he has lost in court numerous times, President Trump still continues to try to undermine and sabotage the 2020 Census,” Herring said. “The number of people living in each state directly determines how many Representatives that state has and every single person living in Virginia and in every other state in the country deserves to be represented in Congress. I will continue to fight the Trump administration’s blatant illegal politicization of the census and attempts to undercount and manipulate Congressional representation.”
The U.S. Constitution and Census Act clearly state that, for purposes of apportioning members of the House of Representatives among the states, every person residing in the U.S. on Census Day — or April 1 this past year —must be counted.
In July, Trump declared, in a presidential memorandum, his intent to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base — the first time such action has been taken in the nation’s history.
Article I Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution says representatives shall be apportioned among states according to their respective numbers. The major exception to this rule was the Three-Fifths Compromise, which was instituted to resolve disputes over how and whether slaves would be included in a state’s total count. The compromise counted each slave as only three-fifths of any other person, specifically limiting the number of representatives and electoral-college votes — and essentially the power — of states with large slave populations.
The coalition specifically argues that the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base violates, Article I Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Census Act. Additionally, this exclusion conflicts with long-recognized Supreme Court precedent.
The coalition asks the Supreme Court to require the president and his administration to adhere to their obligation to base congressional apportionment on “the whole number of persons in each state” and to forbid them from excluding undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base, just as the lower court did.
Story by Chris Graham