The Trump administration is dropping plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday just days after the Supreme Court described the rationale for the question as “contrived.”
The decision to back away from the controversial question was a victory for civil rights advocates concerned that the query would lead to an inaccurate count of immigrant communities that could skew political representation and federal funding.
“In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the government had no choice but to proceed with printing the 2020 census forms without a citizenship question. Everyone in America counts in the census, and today’s decision means we all will,” attorney Dale Ho of the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement.
The fate of the question has been the subject of legal and political wrangling since March 2018, when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced he planned to add it to the decennial survey, sparking a half-dozen lawsuits from states, cities, civil rights groups and others.
Just last week, President Trump responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling by saying he would seek to delay the census to give administration officials time to come up with a better explanation for why it should include a citizenship question.
Instead, government lawyers notified those challenging the question of the decision to proceed without it.
See here and here for the background. It sure is nice to see lying not get rewarded for once, isn’t it? Despite this early cave, it was a closer call than you might think, because if the government had been able to get any slightly-less-bullshit pretext back before SCOTUS in time, you know John Roberts would have waved it on through. Now we can at least get this done in something approaching a normal manner, and add “pass a law outlawing citizenship questions on the Census” to the ever-longer to do list for the next Democratic government. Note that this should not affect the examination of the newly uncovered Hofeller evidence, but it does close this chapter of the story. Big sigh of relief. Think Progress, TPM, Mother Jones, Slate, and Daily Kos have more.