US Supreme Court Conservatives Appear to Support Citizenship Question on Census

The US Supreme Court appears to be tilting towards granting the Trump administration’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross a victory in an argument with Democrats regarding the inclusion of a citizenship question in the upcoming 2020 US Census questionnaire, Reuters reports.

The court has a 5-4 conservative majority and has already supported US President Donald Trump in other high-profile cases, including the 2018 travel ban from predominantly Muslim countries and Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from military service earlier last year.

Two lawsuits against the introduction of a citizenship question were filed by a group of states and localities led by New York, along with a coalition of immigrant rights groups, Reuters reports. The initiative enjoys support of 17 states, according to Fox News.

Should the Supreme Court rule to support Trump’s initiative, it will overrule a lower court’s decision, which banned the citizenship question.

According to its proponents, the inclusion of a citizenship question would allow better enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in voting.

Opponents say many undocumented migrants staying in the US will shy away from participating in the census over fears that their personal information could be disclosed to law enforcement agencies. This will lead to a population undercount, liberals note. According to estimates by the Census Bureau, the question might repel some 6.5 million people from taking part in the census.

The census figures are used to allot seats in the House of Representatives and distribute federal aid, which amounts to some $800 billion in federal funds. With migrants out of the picture, the Democrats will suffer and Republicans will benefit from wider electoral representation, as will Republican-leaning parts of the country, Reuters notes.