U.S. top court won't halt trial over census citizenship question
U.S. top court won't halt trial over census citizenship question
Artist's rendering of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court bench with fellow justices. William J. Hennessy Jr
06 November, 2018, 13:55
Justices Gorsuch and Thomas dissented from the ruling saying they would have granted the government's application for a halt.
The numerous plaintiffs in the case have long argued that an "unconstitutional and arbitrary decision [was made] to add a citizenship demand to the 2020 Census questionnaire", a question that would "fatally undermine the accuracy of the population count and cause tremendous harms to Plaintiffs and their residents".
Trial in the case had been scheduled to begin earlier this week in Eugene, Oregon, but the Supreme Court temporarily halted the trial earlier this month.
Last month, Ross, in a Justice Department filing, said he now remembers speaking with former senior White House adviser Steve Bannon previous year about adding a citizenship question to the census. "The court appears to have coalesced around a narrow compromise to defuse, for the moment, major litigation against the Trump administration".
The Justice Department asked for the delay while the justices consider a separate motion asking them to limit evidence at trial, but the court on Friday refused. That dispute includes whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose department oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, should be forced to answer questions under oath about his motivations for the politically charged decision.
"You really have to wonder what they're trying to hide".
Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who is among the state officials suing the administration, said the Trump administration has tried "every trick in the book" to block the case.
The trial beginning Monday is a consolidated case of lawsuits brought by the ACLU and a multi-state coalition led by NY.
The US Department of Commerce had said in a press release at the time that citizenship data would help the Department of Justice enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.
Manhattan U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled in July that the plaintiffs "plausibly allege" that Ross's decision was motivated by discrimination.
The census is carried out every 10 years and helps to determine political representation in Congress, federal funding of programs and other matters.
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