STATEMENT: Census Citizenship Question Violates Text and Spirit of the Constitution

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in U.S. Department of Commerce v. New York, where it will determine whether the Trump administration can add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. A citizenship question has not been asked of all decennial census respondents since 1950. In response, William Roberts, managing director of Democracy and Government Reform at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

If the Supreme Court is truly committed to nonpartisanship and the rule of law, then it will affirm the lower court rulings halting the Trump administration’s attempt to rig the census for partisan political benefit. Several independent and nonpartisan researchers—including the U.S. Census Bureau’s own experts—have shown that the question would decrease reporting by roughly 5 percent, undermining representation and federal funding for already marginalized communities. Three lower court judges meticulously documented that these are exactly the results that the Trump administration desired by adding the question, violating the text and spirit of the law and the Constitution. If the Supreme Court continues to endorse conservative attempts to rig the political system, then it will hasten the erosion of public faith in its institutional reputation and in our democracy.

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