President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday said it would appeal a lower court ruling that blocked its contentious plan to ask people taking part in the 2020 national census whether they are U.S. citizens.
The administration filed a notice in federal court that it would appeal the case to the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan on Tuesday invalidated the administration’s addition of the citizenship question.
The judge found that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, concealed the true motives for his “arbitrary and capricious” decision to add the question in violation of federal law.
Also on Thursday, the group of states, cities and civil rights groups challenging the administration’s decision to add the citizenship question to the census asked the Supreme Court to throw out a pending Justice Department appeal due to be argued next month.
Lawyers for the challengers, including the state of New York, filed court papers saying that case, contesting the scope of evidence that a lower court judge could consider in ruling on the issue, is moot now that Furman issued his final decision this week. The case is scheduled to be argued before the justices on Feb. 19.
It is likely the Supreme Court will ultimately have the final say on whether the question can be added.
Opponents have accused the Trump administration of devising a citizenship question to use the census to pursue the political objectives of Trump’s fellow Republicans by engineering an undercount of the true population and reducing the electoral representation of Democratic-leaning communities in Congress.
The 18 states, 15 cities and civil rights groups that sued said a citizenship question would frighten immigrants and Latinos into abstaining from the count.
SOURCE: Lawrence Hurley, Andrew Chung