Supreme Court to Hear Case on Census Citizenship Question

The court’s move added a highly charged and consequential blockbuster to what had been a fairly sleepy term. Critics say that adding the question would undermine the count.

Comments: 202

  1. While one question about citizenship may be added to the next census questionnaire, there is a possibly “6.5 million people might decide not to participate” in the U.S. Census. I’m a U.S. citizen and even I feel like not participating in protest. What’s next, a question about how a person feels about walls?

  2. @Marge Keller I think most of us know how we feel about the wall- STUFF IT!

  3. @Marge Keller I would agree with you about the protest; unfortunately, failure to comply with the census is a federal offense.

  4. how many people respond to the census questionnaire determines how much money your community gets from the Federal government. it's important to fill it out. most people who are illegal avoid filling it out.

  5. Isn't your citizenship status the most important piece of information for any government to collect? I have lived in different countries and declared I am a US citizen when the census taker came to my door. It was a fact that took me off their voter registation lists, as it should have, although without voter photo ID I wouldn't have been able to vote anyway. Another so called US problem that I don't understand. It's quite simple. If you are not in the census as a citizen, you cannot vote. If you want to vote, become a citizen.

  6. @me Not so simple at all. Census data is not used in the US to determine voting eligibility, and never has been, even many years ago when the question was asked. In the US, voter rolls are managed at the state level. Perhaps you have lived in other countries so long that you have lost touch with the basic processes of democracy in the US.

  7. @me With all due respect, I too used to tote your closing paragraph until I found out that it takes years (a minimum of 5 and more like 7-10 years) before someone can become a U.S. citizen because of the overwhelming backlog of the far too few judges reviewing these cases. I would love to see even an iota of that border wall money allocated to hiring more judges and individuals to review the cases of those truly wishing, hoping and wanting to be a U.S. Citizen. The process is the problem - not the individual desiring to become a citizen of this wonderful country.

  8. @me Knowing the approximate number of residents who are citizens is hardly the most important piece of information for a government to collect. The census is not linked to voter registration which is done on a state level. The purpose of the census is to collect the most accurate population, housing and related demographic information. Photo IDs are a straw man used by those that want to suppress voting.

  9. I'd really like to see an analysis of when the citizenship question was in our census previously and what the reasons were for adding it or removing it each time. What laws or court decisions do we have on the books about this, especially from the last time the question was removed?

  10. Search the Times, it ran a map showing the effect.

  11. The Census is meant to be an accurate count of ALL the people in the US, fairly tabulated as a basis for, among other purposes, distribution of tax funds and apportion of Congressional seats in the House. We are a huge country, diverse and widely populated. We are also split politically in complex ways. Many are already resistant to the constitutionally-required Census, and it may never have been more difficult to tabulate an accurate count. But it is a fundamental element of our democracy, and it must be done fairly, without fear of response. Unfortunately, Trump is once again going against the best traditions of our democracy; attempting to muddle the census is yet another politically-biased tactic. History will be unkind to Trump and the GOP for their actions in this and other efforts that put party above country. But in the meantime, Congress and the Courts need to step up to their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution.

  12. Can we cut right to the chase here? Of course Secretary Ross’s motives—his orders from Stephen Bannon—was racism. The Trump administration is going after Hispanics—especially those suspected of being here without authorization—so as to flush them out of the shadows and easy prey for a round-up as prelude to their deportation? Judge Jesse Furman pretty much saw through the scheme by Ross. Why would this administration be sympathetic to the provisions of the Voting Rights Act when it has made no secret of its animus toward minority voters? As the judge explained, the “secretary made his decisions for other reasons.” More ominously, the Supreme Court’s eager willingness to take up this case tracks with the rigid ideology of Justice Neil Gorsuch and is certain to be shared by his junior, Brett Kavanaugh. Both are Trump appointees and were installed on the SCOTUS specifically to pressure Latinos to declare themselves, the quicker the better for their expulsion?

  13. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 I really like and respect your comments because each one is always spot-on and you are so precise in your thought process and justifications. Such is the case with your closing paragraph. I too agree with the reasoning for the pressuring and quick appointments of both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. And to think the country is stuck with them forever (or what will feel like forever). Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  14. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 And they shouldn't be expelled because?

  15. @Marge Keller: Many thanks for your kind words. The provenance of this Supreme Court ugliness is Mitch McConnell. I simply cannot bear imagining how a centrist judge like Merrick Garland would have sold his very soul to the extreme of either party. When President Barack Obama nominated him, I thought it was a slam dunk: a distinguished jurist with a record for fairness and rectitude; conservative but not wedded to long-held (or dictated) principles; a Republican and a white male (they count, too, and it doesn’t kill me to say it). What could possibly go wrong, right? So now we’re actually down three Justices—the one that was stolen from us and the two McConnell/Trump “usurpers”). No president should be denied his (or, hopefully, one day—her) SCOTUS appointment but any decent president —a huge caveat given our current circumstances—would keep in mind that extremism on the SCOTUS will reverberate for generations. President Obama, a wise and compassionate man—and a very far cry from being “a very stable genius”—understood that long after he left office, his historical fingerprints would be on the books with serious implications for every citizen, not just “some,” as our sham charlatan who now prances across the stage believes. Let’s hope for justice, if not fairness. They’re not the same thing, unfortunately. Thanks again; “preciate you”, (as Bill Withers might have put it).

  16. The point of the question being added isn't accuracy. The purpose is three-fold: 1. Provide ICE with an additional tool to find and deport people. 2. Add a new means by which to gerrymander. 3. Knowing many who aren't citizens will be afraid and lie, this provides a means by which criminal charges can be brought in order to more easily deport. Then add all of the lost funding for blue states . We are living Jim Crow 2.0. --- Things Trump Did While You Weren’t Looking [2019] https://wp.me/p2KJ3H-3h2

  17. In 2000, I was a door-to-door Census taker in a neighborhood with a large illegal immigrant population. Getting responses was extremely difficult even then, and we were given extensive training on how to reassure respondents that we weren't going to call the INS on them. It will much harder now. But that's the goal of the Census, to count everybody, and it's in the Constitution this way. Just objectively count everyone. Not to care why someone was there, if they ought to be there or somewhere else. I cam across huge numbers of relatives crammed into small apartments in violation of their leases. I was not there to worry about that. If there is a need for a survey on citizenship status, there are other ways to go about this, to be honest.

  18. One of my children had the sane job here in 2010. And he talked about having trouble getting answers from immigrants also. It seems to me the US census needs some good Public Relations effort to explain the privacy angle.

  19. What is discriminatory about asking someone anonymously about their citizenship status? It's a question that needs to be asked in this day and age for a number of reasons, for both current policy and future historical research. Only citizens should be able to vote and receive certain benefits. Lots of censusues in the past asked questions: birthplace, literacy, race, employment, net worth, number of slaves, etc., which were important for those times. This question is valid for our times.

  20. @MJ If you really want an answer to the question about citizen status you would not include it in the general census questionnaire since its obvious, and the opinion of all polling professionals, that illegal residents would simply avoid completing the census or answer incorrectly. The Census Bureau conducts many data gathering surveys designed to get information about population statistics that are truly accurate. Given that this is well understood inside the Census Bureau, one has to wonder what the motivation for adding this question is? Do you support bullying?

  21. NO!!! ...no justification surpasses the danger of the question?

  22. @a. Citizens reside in prisons where their presence inflates the size of the local population. I won't answer the question about citizenship. I am a conservative who won't answer questions concerning these data gathering surveys because they ask questions beyond the Constitutional requirement for counting persons. Article 1. Section 2: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

  23. "He's got the whoole court...in his hands. He's got the whole wide court in his hands. He's got the Supreeeme Court in his hands. He's got the whole world in his hands." One more time....

  24. Will RBG be on the bench next Tuesday?

  25. why just people don't lie? the president lies all the time so it's ok to lie.

  26. This is a giant yawn. If you don’t want to participate for any reason, don’t. But to ask your citizenship status makes perfect sense.

  27. Apparently the only correct answers are the ones that agree with a senile potentate? This is an administration founded in fear and hate mongering. If the Court upholds this question, we can anticipate many people will abstain. Trump and his trenchcoated henchmen are destroying a once admirable government. The answer here is for people to vote...

  28. @Elliott Oppenheim, MD,JD,LLM Health Law Yes, for all the illegal 'citizens' to vote democrats, a sad day for the USA. Does Israel allow that?

  29. And the hits just keep on coming. Every single one of you who voted for Stein, Johnson, or not at all because Bernie, or Hillary was not pure enough, this is on you. Every single one of you put trump and his democracy demolition crew in office. I hope you realize that might have been your very last chance to cast a vote. Hope you enjoy explaining to your children what the Constitution was, and how their futures were stolen from them. Elections. Consequences.

  30. Easy prediction. This will be a 5-4 decision in favor of question. Too easy unfortunately. When you know how 4 Justices will vote on almost every case it is a very sad time for this country( and I don’t mean Gi,B,Kag and S)

  31. Why have any questions besides how many humans live in the abode? Race, gender? All superfluous.

  32. When a country is so afraid to ask if a person living there is a citizen and the press worries more for the illegals than the legals, something is really wrong.

  33. Justices Gorsuch, Alito and Thomas prove Chief Justice Roberts is wrong again. We do have Obama Judges and Bush Judges. They are all unelected politicians covered in black robes. I have little respect for any of them, anymore.

  34. Refusing to answer, or giving s false answer, on the census is a violation of law (USC 221). Fines and or jail. Now someone here illegally might “take the 5th” on the question, legally, but it would attract a lot of attention. Everyone who takes the fifth, refuses to answer or gives a false answer “on principle” should be fined / jailed and forced to give a report to the court on the life of Thoreau.

  35. There is no doubt as to Ross's motivation in adding the question, a blueprint for ICE agents to round up immigrants. The republican party will certainly see massive benefits for blocking President Obama's nomination to the Supreme Court.

  36. @Lee: nope -- all such data is confidential for 70-75 years after the Census is complete. Presumably everyone is dead by then. How can you be SO SURE you know how Merrick Garland would have voted? are you psychic?

  37. Here we go, yet another assault on our democracy by the soon to be (mainly white minority) Republicans who are desperate to hold on to their power by (brilliantly) stocking the courts w right wingers for generations to come. Have to hand it the federalist society and their ilk for playing the long game. Woe is us!

  38. @FhIndiaNC Dear FhIndiaNC, Who is "us"? I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and will vote for the Democratic nominee in 2020. Nevertheless I fail to see how asking the citizenship question on the census is "..yet another assault on our democracy by the soon to be (mainly white minority) Republicans..." The census is supposed to gather information about all people (not just citizens) who are residing in the USA. I am not obtuse, but honestly, regardless of this question, how many illegal immigrants are going to fill out this very long and annoying form? Most can probably not read English. Is there a Spanish version of the census? A French version of the census form. A Karen language version of the census form. An Arabic version? For Mr. Trump's friends, a Russian version? This is a nothing burger and the right insisting on including the question and the left on insisting it be left off are just posturing politically...unless one or both parties intend to use subterfuge in assembling and accessing the results to their advanage. Nah, that is a conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories.

  39. Anyone with a three-digit IQ knows exactly what is going on here. And that includes Secretary Ross and Justice Gorsuch. The cynical partisan nature of such purposeful action could not be more clear. There was a reason that Merrick Garland's confirmation hearings were stalled and garbage like this exemplifies those reasons. We must hope that the Supreme Court halts such blatant disregard for history & constitutional norms and that there remains enough decency on the Court - including genuine conservative thought - that a radical upending of centuries of precedent is not imminent. The census has always counted population. Everybody! Adding a possible disincentive for anyone to provide the needed information is no oversight. It is a craven political act. Shame, shame, shame on anyone who would promote or excuse it!

  40. While the enumeration clause is not totally clear and has been amended a few times, it nowhere uses the term “citizen.” Rather it discusses “persons”. Citizens are persons, but so are Indians, slaves, indentured servants, and permanently resident aliens. The census was devised to assist the government in perfecting its representative function. How many persons do we have living here and where? Immigrants go to school, pay taxes and use governmental services. They need to be counted, not caught for political purposes. After this little trick, the next step of our pro-life friends will be to insert a question on number of persons in utero, since they already want to consider abortion murder. The census is informational, not punitive. If Mr Ross and Don the Con want to catch illegals, acquire more sophisticated monitoring equipment. Maybe we can install it on top of the emergency wall

  41. It drives me crazy with the NYT posts articles about Supreme Court cases while barely SKIMMING (if at all mentioning) the legal basis for the case. "Federal statues"--which? What is the actual LEGAL challenge here? What is the case likely to hinge upon? Leaving out the legality of the case allows readers to determine their feelings on the issue based on their opinion alone, and not whatsoever about whether the case is LEGAL or ILLEGAL. It's irresponsible.

  42. @Rebekah The constitution is explicit that all "persons" are counted in the decennial census. There is no mention of "citizens" and rightly so, given the historical context of the time. My guess, the legal basis will be that a citizenship question is unconstitutional because the realities of adding the question would violate both the spirit and letter of Article 1, Section II of the US Constitution.

  43. @David I think @Rebekah has a point. There are other legal questions as well. For example the congress passed laws after the advent of modern methods of statistical sampling that directed the Census Bureau to use the least intrusive means of collecting data. Judge Furman's decision does a great job of explaining the issues, if you have enough time to read it!

  44. @RRA I agree with you there. But I was explicitly addressing what that challenge will likely be before the Supreme Court, in consideration of either upholding or overturning Judge Furman's decision. I'm postulating that it will all turn on the constitutionality question. The 14th amendment makes it quite clear that an accurate enumeration of all "persons" (not citizens) is required. Any question (such as the citizenship question) that can be unequivocally shown to prevent that accurate enumeration could be deemed unconstitutional. I believe, in the end, that's the only legal issue that will matter. Just my 2 cents.

  45. I will not respond to the census if the citizenship question is included. Appears to be yet another attempt to target immigrants for possible deportation at worst, or limit their access to services. Deplorable!

  46. @Joan Erlanger At your jeoprady. According to Title 13, Section 221 (Census, Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers) of the United States Code, persons who fail or refuse to respond to the mail-back census form, or refuse to respond to a follow-up census taker, can be fined up to $100. Persons who knowingly provide false information to the census can be fined up to $500. The Census Bureau points out online that under Section 3571 of Title 18, the fine for refusing to answer a bureau survey can be as much as $5,000.

  47. “[The judge] concluded that Mr. Ross had dissembled...” What is wrong with the simple word “lie”? It’s what trumpsters do as naturally as breathing. Forget “without evidence”, “dissembling”, and all the other euphemisms. Why protect these people from the scorn they deserve? Mr. Ross has only one motive: to ensure that the minority government of bigots, thieves, and know-nothings that Trump and his henchpersons have imposed on us lasts forever. If Democracy needs to be collateral damage, so be it.

  48. How would responses be monitored for accuracy? (increase the number of raids by ICE?) How would/could families comprising citizens and non-citizens respond to such a question?

  49. Amazing how everything is now a partisan issue. Whatever happened to government by and for the people? At this rate, why would anyone be willing to respond to the census or any other government survey, since it might be used against your interests. Yet the world goes on and most don’t have a clue or care...

  50. So in Summary, Wilbur Ross lied to Judge Furman and the greater citizenry of the USA about the provenance of the question. Why isn't the DOJ prosecuting him just like Paul Manafort and others? They lied to the DOJ, Wilber lied, they got prosecuted, Wilber gets a "get out of jail free" card. Gotta love the level playing field.

  51. Welcome to the NIMBY wars. The citizenship question is done in order to frighten noncitizens and maybe make them leave. It is deeply satisfying to the citizens who have become afraid of all outsiders. The current regime promotes this by labeling arrivals as criminals and competitors who will not become productive and thankful members of this country. So it's back to the 1930's. Watch out for the boogeyman.

  52. What did you think about the old forms asking about toilets? Did you think that was meant to shame people or expect it to cause people to refuse to complete the form? My point being that this one question is being blown out of proportion.

  53. Whatever SCOTUS rules, we all know that Trump is more interested in rightwing politics than in demography.

  54. "That could reduce Democratic representation..." Of course it will, that's the entire point. You have to admire the right-wing in this country -- they are absolutely relentless and creative in seeking to ensure continued minority rule on behalf of their patrons. If only the rest of us had such zealous representation.

  55. Will there be a question about how we feel about Walls, or investigations? How about "exciting new business opportunities in N. Korea" ? Toxic. Hope this gets throw out. Time to see if Trump and Mitch got what they paid for.

  56. This ruling will continue our slide into totalitarianism. We've already seen this "president" order dividing immigrant families presenting themselves lawfully at ports of entry, denying them their Constitutional rights. He has stated that American citizens lawfully exercising their right to peaceful protest should be stripped of their citizenship. And he believes he may unilaterally ignore the clear definition of birthright citizenship, and create tens of thousands of stateless people. And who would they be? Brown skinned minorities would of course be high on the list. And then political enemies follow soon after. Trump has stripped some of the nation's most respected military personnel of their security clearances. Does anyone really believe he wouldn't take more punitive measures against anyone who speaks out against him? There are no guarantees this Supreme Court will stand up to Trump. The court upheld the Muslim ban on the flimsiest grounds, ceding all discretion on immigration to the executive. That is, there was absolutely no evidence of terrorists coming from the countries targeted, but nonetheless, this Court rubber stamped a clearly xenophobic act. This court may well give Trump similarly expansive powers in deciding citizenship. But even if Trump doubts he would win such a legal battle, he knows that threats about our citizenship are enough to silence many of us, to make many of us fearful enough to speak out. And this is how he will retain absolute power.

  57. As Judge Furman seems to state, this is a blatant attempt by "let them eat cake" Sec. Ross to undermine the census. Our country deserves good data to make good decisions! The census provides data that is critical to businesses large and small, plus many levels of government. A citizenship question is ludicrous, racist, and will not allow the census to reflect the needs of ALL people who live in our beautiful country. The census counted women, blacks/slaves and others in years past who had not gained their citizenship or right to vote. THAT is the American way!

  58. Of course a slave only counted as a partial human, while free women were even considered whole human beings.

  59. Really? It seems obvious that a country ought to be able know who is a citizen and who is not and particularly so when there are somewhere between 12 million and 20 million who are living in the US who have no right to be in the US but in every way using the services and infra structure of the US. Some might be paying nothing to do so though they might be paying. Knowing is needed for fiscal planning and even a means to legitimize the presence of illegal migrants. And, this is also a legitimate question in terms of legal migration. The US should be able to know who is here legally and who is not, so appropriate action can be taken to foster legal migration. Those opposed are a bit too quick to condemn all others as having bad motives. Some might have bad motives but the questions is legitimate and the Supreme Court will so rule, thoug it may be 5 to 4 when it should be 9 to 0.

  60. What you seem to be saying is “we only want Norwegians, not people from “-hole countries “ - the kind who need to escape and deserve our help. Open the Door/Tear down the Wall, or dismantle that lie of a statue in NY Harbor.

  61. @Bian "It seems obvious that a country ought to be able know who is a citizen and who is not and particularly so when there are somewhere between 12 million and 20 million who are living in the US who have no right to be in the US..." What about all the millions here legally who are NOT citizens? They represent a bigger number than the number of people here illegally. Are you bundling them all up together? Permanent residents are here legally but are not citizens. So are international college students. So are people on work visas, etc. Are you interested in the number of people here illegally vs legally? Because a citizenship question does not answer that at all. I lived in the USA legally for 19 years before I became a citizen, that's the fastest time frame I could make it (no delays on my end). Legal non-citizens vastly outnumber illegal residents.

  62. @Eatoin, nobody is saying that only people from certain countries should be admitted legally.

  63. The Constitution states that a enumeration of persons must be undertaken every 10 years. No where does it say "citizens". This is a test for the Conservative, Original, and Federalist SCOTUS Members. Will they wobble or manipulate the Constitution to put forth their political views or will stand pat on their beliefs? If they shift on this, they then match the current SCOTUS Members who see that the Constitution is a Living Document.

  64. The census count should capture all persons and nobody is saying that should change.

  65. As a long time advocate for immigrant rights who has near constant contact with individuals who were not born in the USA, I'm confident a question regarding immigration status would deter at least as many immigrants from voting as Liptak suggested. I know several immigrants who are lawful green card owners but no longer feel safe in the USA. With all due respect to me NYC, accessing one's citizenship is not nearly as easy as one would hope it would be.

  66. I would hope that no "immigrants" would be deterred from voting, assuming (which I heartily doubt) that you are using the term with its accurate meaning: a legal immigrant. If it deters illegal immigrants from voting I am delighted. A "Green Card" is not the same as a Voter Registration, though you seem to think it is. If illegal immigrants feel unsafe that will, I hope, encourage them to leave. They weren't born with a God-given right to be American citizens or live illegally on its social safety net.

  67. @Dr. Svetistephen, please remember that we are a country of immigrants that, for the most part, wholly disregarded the rights of the native inhabitants what we now call the United States. Aspirational in theory but certainly not in practice under the current administration. I should have been more specific. Green card holders have a legal right to be here but, under #45s misguided leadership, often no longer feel safe in this country.

  68. @mbh The point is that leg immigrants who gave not becone naturalized US citizens have not been granted the right to vote so they really should be afraid to vote.

  69. The Constitution is explicit about who should be counted when determining representation but it clearly does not distinguish between citizens and non-citizens: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

  70. The Framers could never have conceived that a time would come when millions of people would enter the country illegally, with the tacit or active support of one of the nation's leading political parties for the purpose of accruing political power. The zeitgeist of today's faux citizens of the world, the no-borders people, would have horrified the Framers, as would the open contempt for the rule of law mouthed by the left. This is one of those occasions when their very different historical perspective explains their omission of this criterion; it was a point they couldn't conceive they would have to make.

  71. Dr. S, as someone who resides in NYC, you should understand that this is an obvious attempt by the administration to use more of your tax money and skew congressional representation. It seems odd to me that someone in your community would like to be taxed and have their money and representation sent. Currently states like mine and yours roughly receive 75 to 80 cents for every dollar in taxes, while states like Mississippi and Alabama receive $1.25 - 1.40. Our two states are the most populated, yet we are well underrepresented in Congress. Why do you wish to have less representation and more taxation. I think the Founders would be shocked that 1 congressional representative in our states are far from the intent of 40,000 people per representative. You would do well to read the biographies of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, etc.

  72. The survey question is a clear violation of the 5th Amendment. People can not be expected to flag themselves in order to kick off deportation proceedings.

  73. My guess is you wouldn't support deportation under any circumstances affecting others: whether illegal immigration steals their jobs, reduces their livelihoods, or whether they are the victims of the small percentage of migrants who are criminals. I am willing to state for a certainly that you'd feel quite differently if you or yours were on the receiving end.

  74. @The Buddy I am afraid you are wrong. The 5th Amendment privilege only applies in criminal cases. Deportation cases aren't criminal cases.

  75. @The Buddy This is a ridiculous assertion. The Census does not and will never share Census data with another agency. I work with Census and this is nonnegotiable, even in situations in which release seems innocuous. The plaintiffs here merely assert that the mere existence of this will deter people here illegally from completing the Census questionnaire because of a (misguided) belief along the lines stated in your comment. Even if it were to be shared, the 5th Amendment would still not apply to a valid administrative requirement such as this. The reality is that the courts should never insert themselves into the policy judgments of the executive. If Commerce has the legal authority to ask a question, whether it be about citizenship or flush toilets, it's Constitutionally forbidden for courts to judge the wisdom, efficiency, value, etc. of those decisions, and thus make themselves the artibers of what constitutes good policy than the people elected to make such policy. Every criticism of this policy set forth in the article can be demonstrably true and it still doesn't matter. This is not the judiciary's role in our government and I hope the Supreme Court makes that clear in its decision.

  76. Something that will advantage my party over their party? The supreme court will say, sure.

  77. Why should the courts or we citizens care what Wilbur Ross's motives are? What matters is what effect the proposed policy change will have on us and whether it is legal or not. ". . . questions about citizenship have often been asked in earlier censuses and are commonplace in ones conducted by other developed democracies." Nor can you have any organized body of persons--let alone a nation state--without regulating who enters that body.

  78. @Veronica Apparently reading the part of the Constitution that references the decennial census is not required for commenting on who is counted in the census. The paragraph in Article 1, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution makes no mention of citizenship when it describes how the census is to be conducted. Free persons are mentioned, including those who could be described as indentured, Indians who are not taxed are mentioned, and so are the "all other persons" who will be counted as 3/5 of a person, that is, slaves. But the word citizen never appears. Even Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, which effectively removed the three-fifths rule in , does not mention citizens or citizenship with regard to apportionment, which is based on the decennial census.

  79. @Veronica Did you know that census data was used to intern Japanese Americans?

  80. This would be another brick in the walls that trump desires to put up not just at the border but in every community in the country. The number of people residing in any given district should determine the services that district receives, for the good of that community and by extension of the whole and a citizenship question would simply result in a very inaccurately low census count.

  81. Let’s be honest. There is only one reason why Democrats oppose putting this reasonable question BACK on the Census, where it previously appeared. Votes. Their minority/majority electoral strategy has two parts. First, increase the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. via semi-permeable borders and sanctuary cities. This has the immediate effect of increasing their congressional representation. Second, eventually declare the vast numbers of illegal immigrants to be an emergency and grant them citizenship and voting rights. This is the rationale behind Democrats’ fight against effective border barriers, and now the fight to simply ask a Census question. They are attempting to pull off the greatest voter "disenfranchisement via dilution" swindle in the history of the country. The Census is just one part of the scheme.

  82. @John "Second, eventually declare the vast numbers of illegal immigrants to be an emergency and grant them citizenship and voting rights." That could only happen if a previous President set a precedent for a made up emergency; now who would do that?

  83. @John Lets be honest. There is only one reason Democrats oppose putting this question back on the census - because its illegal. Please read Judge Furman's decision to educate yourself on the LAWS congress has passed regarding the collection of data via the census. While we are being honest, lets admin that the reason that right wing reactionaries such as Mr Ross want to add this question is to intimidate people in this country, both illegally and legally, to impede the accurate count of Persons residing in the United States in such a was as to benefit the Republican party.

  84. @John Okay, John. I'll be honest. the "swindle" is what we got when trump was put into the White House. And undocumented aliens cannot vote.

  85. This question should have been decided by SCOTUS long ago. Estimates of the size of the illegal population range wildly. For year we lived with the urban myth that illegal migrants totaled 11-12 million (the Pew Center for Research still insists on this). That number fails to take account of the high percentage of "immigrants" who come illegally -- some 400,00 to 600,000 a year -- as well as the great surge in both legal and illegal immigration that occurred from 2000-2010, the decade which witnessed the highest immigration in all US history. A recent study by Yale and MIT claims the number of illegals is perhaps twice that. This issue couldn't be more salient in a democracy. The Census is used to determine the allocation of Congressional seats. The United States is a nation of CITIZENS. At present, numerous Congressional districts exist largely because of their high populations -- but populations comprised in large measure of illegal migrants. This effectively gives illegal migrants great political power, whether or not they violate the law by voting. It's time to reaffirm that we are a nation which recognizes the primacy of the political will of citizens, the real stakeholders in the polity. The socio-economic needs of the illegal population must be addressed, too, but starting out with studies other than the Census. This would enable us to target the needs of the illegal population without skewing political representation.

  86. @Dr. Svetistephen You are going to need a constitutional amendment to impose your views. The constitution specifies that the census count Persons, not citizens, and in its original form counted slaves as 3/5 of a person. To assert that the constitution should read Person as Citizen implies that slaves were partial citizens, which is preposterous. If you are concerned about equal representation, lets start by abolishing the disproportionate allocation of senators.

  87. @Dr. Svetistephen I think it's high time you revisit your history and maybe take out your copy of the Constitution. Your analysis is chock-full of "facts" and woefully short of understanding; the census counts "persons." Having a district representative by virtue of non-citizen headcount that doesn't vote actually increases the clout of those citizens who do vote. It's a form of leverage for the citizens. Think.

  88. As Judge Furman illuminates in his decision, congress has set standards for how the census is administered and required the least intrusive methods be used to get accurate data. It is a simple fact that adding the citizenship question does not meet this criteria. The focus in this article of the phony Justice Department/Jeff Sessions collusion with Mr Ross may obscure the fact that this highly tenuous justification doesn't support the adding of the question to the census, as documented by the the capable professional staff at the census department.

  89. Regardless of the sanctity of the case, it's hard to separate, nor contemplate, the propriety of the particular individuals in this case. Bannon has made racist movies, and Ross has not so long ago finally paid substantial monetary fines due to his financial violations. which hundreds of thousands of us, if not millions of us together, would not make in a lifetime. And not to mention Ross' inability to understand the financial problems of the government workers and private contractors while the government was shut down.

  90. So if that is the case, wouldn't it then make sense for people in places which have the potential to be harmed from this (i.e. Democratic areas) to suddenly "miscount" when filling out the form? Because my household has 2 people in it. But the more I think about it, maybe it's 8.

  91. @Scott S. I understand what you are saying, but I don't think that will happen. Think about it this way, if people fear that question and decide to not answer the census at all, it is because they would prefer to leave it blank than to lying to the government. While it is not likely to be caught lying on the form, they believe it is likely, and therefore will ignore it instead of risk being caught (in their minds).

  92. @Scott S. We, in Farm Country, have large families. We will match your 8 with 25 and we shall prevail.

  93. If the citizenship question is allowed to go forward on the census, we could call for an act of civil disobedience and leave that question blank en masse. My concern is that Trump and his like-minded "make America white again" allies see the demographic winds of change and want to lock in an advantage for white right candidates while they still can.

  94. Even if people left the question blank, their purpose of keeping many from filling out the census at all would still be achieved.

  95. Why the rush? The excerpted paragraphs are quite telling: [including the question regarding citizenship in the next census.....] "could reduce Democratic representation when congressional districts are drawn in 2021 and affect the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending. The Supreme Court stepped in before any appeals court had ruled on the matter, and it put the case on an unusually fast track, scheduling arguments for April so that it can issue a decision before census forms are printed in June." Every opportunity to manipulate the current political agenda to DT's favor is more than transparent. And his new SCOTUS appointees leave little doubt in my mind as to the outcome of the decision rendered.

  96. There is a lot of planning for each census, and, as the article explained, the addition of this question was proposed after the regular period allowed for public comment.

  97. Donald you walled yourself in for good. A possible one term presidency must be driving you nuts. You lost your mind and heart over a fake useless border wall!

  98. BHO-appointed politician decides that the question can't be used because of the motivation of the proponents. This is an entirely harmless question; the alleged "harms" are wholly speculative. (The same folks who have no problem issuing drivers' licences to illegals, which will, perforce, require them to reveal that they are not citizens to a governmental agency, recoil in horror at the thought of asking non-citizens to reveal that fact to a governmental agency.) In short, this represents yet another time when the identity-obsessed left gets its collective panties in a bunch about what should be an entirely uncontroversial proposal.

  99. @Brenda There may be reasons to ask the question. It may even be constitutional. But to claim this is an "entirely harmless question" is disingenuous at best. This administration intends to harm its opponents any way possible, as we have seen time and again.

  100. How is it possible to "discriminate" against illegal aliens? If anything, by refusing to recognize their existence, we're not treating them as real people. Recognize that they're here; arrest them; return them to their homelands. Period.

  101. Judge Fuhrman is an Obama Judge which this article should have reported. I would expect nothing less from him and his ilk illegal aliens are not entitled to congressional representation.

  102. Here's the game; certain states have become "sanctuary states" for illegal aliens which increases their population giving them more representation and funding. The proposed question on the census is an attempt to suppress the counting of these illegal aliens who should not be in the country period again giving the states that harbor them, in direct defiance of US immigration law, additional representation and funding. Illegal aliens do not have to vote to commit voter fraud; their presence in the population unfairly increases the representation of the states that they reside in. Deep blue states like CA are destroying and driving out the middle class; CA loses net 130k per year (a million every 8 years) so bring in the illegals to keep up population numbers. Another of the left's scams on the citizens of this country.......

  103. @STANLEYN8 Blue states typically send more tax $$ to the federal govt than they get back. Red states typically TAKE more from the federal govt than they send in tax revenue. Not the narrative you typically hear on conservative news networks, I know...not to mention the fact that Americans in those states actually have less representation in government because of the electoral college and the senate.

  104. So, although I am a natural born US citizen, if I choose not to answer the citizenship question, does this mean I can not vote, even though I have a valid voter registration card and valid government identification with a photo of my Anglo-Saxon skin? After having watched just a portion of this morning's incoherent, rambling speech by the senile one occupying the Oval Office, I turned off the tv. Our democracy is being assaulted in so many ways that I am skeptical of anything that this administration advocates.

  105. This defeats much of the purpose of having a census. It will certainly prevent many from completing the census due to fear, and rightfully so. More foolishness from Trump & GOP complacency.

  106. @SJ Defeat the purpose? That's not a problem that's the reason for doing it. It's not a bug, it's a feature!

  107. It is wrong to count noncitizens. States who welcome undocumented immigrants should be penalized by receiving less money from the government.

  108. There are lots of non citizens here legally. Also education has to be provided regardless of citizenship status. That is the law. The census determines money

  109. @Rolf Why is it wrong to count non-citizens? When Europeans were flooding to the young US in the early 19th century, didn't both States and the federal government have interests, plans, and policies that distinguished between states where many new arrivals were headed, or passing through, or leaving?

  110. @Rolf Why? I submit that employers who hire undocumented workers should be fined three times the wages they pay and not be allowed to deduct the "expense" of the wages they do pay. It only makes sense.

  111. "While the court is unable to determine", but I'll take a guess at it. So says Judge Furman. Prepare to be overruled Judge Furman.

  112. Dear NYT: A certain reversal awaits. President Trump will prevail on this dispute, which again features a wild-eyed usurpation of executive authority, inapt and overwrought claims of racist intent, and judicial over-reach. Instead of fear-mongering and partisan spin, I hope The Times and other media will broadcast far and wide that census questions cannot be used for enforcing immigration laws. The "undocumented" should be advised answer all of these census questions, including citizenship, so as to accurately assess the needs of each census tract, and allocate services appropriately. Or will it be more fear-mongering?

  113. @Jorge I always understood than not one thing in a census form could be used against a person. I do think we ought to be accurate information, even from illegal residents but it should not be used against them for being honest on the form.

  114. That the plaintiffs in this case so staunchly oppose merely gathering this information strongly indicates, in the words of the USDC Judge, that they have "something to hide".

  115. @Michael There is the other side of the argument: why should the states just because they have high numbers of illegal immigrants use them to gain extra congressional districts? I live in Florida, huge number of illegals here. But that doesn't mean this or any state should benefit from that.

  116. The GOP is trying to strike a delicate balance here between reducing Democratic representation but not really getting rid of many people here illegally who provide so much of the low-paid, powerless, disposable labor so beloved by their oligarch patrons.

  117. Great. A hyperpartisan political body will decide yet another important question of our day, rather than a deliberate and impartial body, like any one of a thousand courtrooms across the land.

  118. do even my liberal friends think it is a good idea that any of 500 federal judges can, on a whim, over return any executive or legislative or administrative action . this is pure chaos and it is time for serious reform of the court system

  119. @Obummer Sounds like the concept of Checks and Balances. One of the good things that up to now have prevented our government from becoming a dictatorship.

  120. The Census Bureau is about nothing if not data. They can surely demonstrate with statistical evidence the effect of the citizenship question on the response. They can prove their case. And they have the American Community Survey data showing citizenship numbers. The Administration will have to show that its motives are pure, sidestepping their serial deceptions about the origin of the question and its purpose. And they will have to demonstrate an executive license to gather the information, which is irrelevant to the population count. But... the Court is likely to be more deferential to the president than it was a short while ago. So... we're on the edge of our bench.

  121. @Occupy Government Why? The court has had a liberal lean since Clinton's administration. In the 25 years before that it was pretty middle of the road. Now it may start to tip a little more to the right. That is how it is supposed to work. Nobody can completely filter out their personal bias. Not even justices and judges. At the federal appeals level, where a consensus is needed, decisions take so long because they discuss things. They research fine points. They seek out prior related decisions. They put it all together and, hopefully, reach a shared majority opinion. The reason the minority or dissenting opinions are given is because most things are not yes/no or good/bad. The dissent is written as guidance for others to know that every angle was considered. Federal judges get a lifetime appointment to keep the balance of left/right across the country fairly well balanced. It takes decades to alter the balance, and we want it that way. Some part of government needs to change slowly. Congress cannot make a decision about much of anything where the vast majority agrees. As a result, we get vastly fast changes in laws that lean far to either side. When a new administration gets a chance to appoint judges that alter the tilt that people have grown accustomed to, that is by design. It has been 5 decades since the court had a noticeable right lead. JFK has just been assassinated when it began its left lean.

  122. I'm not a constitutional lawyer by any means, but it seems to me that a simple solution to the problem is asking the question but making it optional as to whether you answer it or not, since representation is based on human beings that reside in a particular state, not whether they are a citizen or not. After all, a state needs to take care of its responsibilities to people who live in their state, not dependent on whether they are a citizen or not, and that means providing state-wide services to those who reside in the state. At least that I believe was the intent of the founding fathers of our nation.

  123. @Ben Testa The only problem with suggesting asking the question but making it optional to answer, is that not answering will still draw attention to yourself and possible deportation proceedings. So it would be just as intimidating, perhaps even more so since some people who refused to answer would not even be immigrants in the first place.

  124. My understanding of the U.S. Census was that anything anyone answers on it was completely private, totally. I always understood that it had to be that way or there was no assurance that people would answer honestly, or even answer at all. So no matter what anyone answers, it can't be used against them. Has this all changed? I think that Trump folks want the question to determine how many people are not citizens. Obviously. But there is not a thing he can do using the census. You can't use the census to enforce any laws.

  125. That's an interesting question about "total" privacy. Do people answering census questions have a a right to legal privilege? May census workers (who are mostly regulate folks with some time on their hands and needing extra income or even a brief, part time job) be sued for damages if they break it? As in: If the worker, who may be a member of one's own community finds out info about neighbors they would rather not be shared with anyone else (perhaps the mixed race of a child or their education level or that there's now an additional person at that address because the young lady who was beaten by her boyfriend has moved into their home) or whatever... can the neighbor sue the census worker and the census bureau if that information is shared with non-census workers? What if the domestic violence perpetrator boyfriend also works for the Census?

  126. @gmt The 1940 US census data was used to locate and incarcerate Japanese Americans during WW2: https://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/17/us/report-says-census-bureau-helped-relocate-japanese.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/04/03/secret-use-of-census-info-helped-send-japanese-americans-to-internment-camps-in-wwii/?utm_term=.2430405c62fa Given today's decision by Trump, there is every reason to believe that this administration would use the same census data to hunt down anyone on their enemies list, resident or not.

  127. The Grand Collective is one thing--but citizenship quite another, which is why the question is so detested by the DNC Politburo's hierarchy. Dogma--non-citizens, illegal immigrants, and citizens are alike and are as a group the core asset for determining how public largess is to be distributed and for maintaining the power to control "the means of production" -- creating more votes.

  128. If the Supreme Court originalists are true to their philosophy, I hope they look closely at what the Constitution says about citizenship. Oh, right, nothing. Not until after slavery, to guarantee slaves - the original illegal immigrants brought here against their will - citizenship.

  129. Something tells me that the so-called originalists will once again find that the Constitution allows for exactly what they want although it says the opposite.

  130. The addition of this question may very well dissuade immigrants from filling out the census form, but I'm hard-pressed to see why this question cannot be included. I don't like to see it added to the form, but legally, I don't think a court is going to stop its addition. We should save our arrows of discontent for the million other things this administration is doing to destroy our country.

  131. Kangaroo Supreme Court. The case is now already decided in favor of adding the citizen question. Despite whatever ‘reasoning’ stated by Gorsuch and Thomas, the Supreme Court stepping in before appellate courts case indicates the case is settled in favor of the GOP justices.

  132. Adding this question to the antiquated form of ascertaining the number of people living in a town, city or state will not prove anything. The persons are not under oath to answer any question truthfully, so the USA has not ever had accurate numbers, and this question only further proves it's a waste of time, money. The only way to know who is where is registration. Everyone must register with the town/city/state in which they reside and receives an official resident card showing name, date and place of birth. This procedure is repeated when one moves to another area. This residence card then proves eligibility to vote, to obtain social services, employment. That's the control - without this official card you are considered illegal and have not any rights of a citizen of registered foreigner. If that is in USA unconstitutional, then that is one more reason that the Constitution must be amended/updated to living in this century.

  133. Litigants should promptly demand recusal by Justice Kavanaugh, in view of his tirade against Democrats during the confirmation hearing. This is a clear case where the only reason to side with the administration is to give an outsized advantage to Republicans in elections.

  134. And similarly, Ginsberg because of her written statement in this newspaper during the last presidential election.

  135. Well, I think we can all assume Trump will get what he wants with this Supreme Court. I don’t know why the conservatives even show up to discuss it.

  136. The question is going to be "are you a US citizen?" Nearly 10% of the population are not citizens. Most of those are here legally. There is no question about immigration status. How can that be scary to anyone? Personally, I do not believe that non-Americans should have representation in Congress. They are guests here. Even permanent residents are guests. If they want representation, go through naturalization.

  137. When we take a census, I believe it has multiple purposes to understand how many people live within our borders and what services are needed within each large and small community. To have a good count without overinflating or deflating the number through any means is crucial. Let’s keep external political pressures away from the census count. Let’s address the political issues knowing that our data has not been politically corrupted. I was raised to believe that honesty combined with expertise tends to provide the best data. Let’s work to get the best data which is pursuing all who are living inside our borders and avoid anything that would limit this ability

  138. I live and vote in Texas. Within the past few weeks, the entity "in charge of" determining voter eligibility, etc., in this state sent to all county election officials a list of registered voters who were "ineligible" to vote because they are not U.S. citizens. In fact, the lists were based on inaccurate and/or out-dated information. Determination of a person's citizenship is too often based on skin color or surname. (The fact that original inhabitants of southwestern states were not "white" doesn't seem to be common knowledge these days.) In some respects we're regressing to the prejudicial attitudes and practices which were a prelude to the turmoil of the 50's and 60's. The best quote that comes to mine is that of Rodney King: Why can't we just all get along?

  139. @S. B. Harvey "Why can't we just all get along?" Because some of us need power at any cost.

  140. The Supreme Court picks up the case and accelerates it because they want to CHANGE the status quo NOW and insert the citizenship question. A delay means census forms would print in June without citizenship question. Therefore it would have no effect until next census in year 2030, assuming the government wins the case later on. So yes, SCOTUS wants to put it into effect now and influence redistricting in favor of Republicans for decades and decades. Never postpone evil if you can do it right now. Can't help but blame Liberals and Obama for not solidifying the Supreme Court in their favor during the four years Dems had control of Senate under Obama. Ginsburg should have retired in 2014 and Obama should have forced a replacement of Scalia in a recess appointment in 2016.

  141. @Merlin, blame Mitch McConnell, who stole Scalia's seat out from under Obama. He ignored the Constitution and his oath of office.

  142. Perhaps we should all refuse to answer the question. If we want representation without judgment of our status then leave it blank and give coverage for those who fear repercussions to a question that is clearly there as a deterrence.

  143. @Elizabeth "Perhaps we should all refuse to answer (the citizenship) question." My thoughts exactly Elizabeth. I've checked on this option and should the Supreme Court determine that the question is allowable, I will resist!

  144. Even if the Census Bureau is successful in adding the question, citizens have a simple remedy: boycott the question. Not the whole census, but refuse to answer the one question. If enough people do, it will render the information useless.

  145. @Ken L The ACLU actually recommends to answer the question if it ends up on the census--it is important to get an accurate count of persons in your community to end up with the correct amount of govt representation and funding. Chris Hayes's podcast (Why is this Happening) has a couple of great episodes on this case! He interviews Dale Ho, the ACLU lawyer from this article

  146. Even if the question appears, I would refuse to answer it.

  147. Born in Henderson Nebraska Hospital in 1952. I would like to know if I can not answer the citizenship question. Seems finding that out and the Census could be separate.

  148. @Just Me You should answer the citizenship question if it ends up on the census--we want the most accurate count of persons as possible so our communities will get the funding and representation they deserve

  149. Why are the Courts getting involved in Executive Branch decisions makings ? A Law or an executive order or policy should be judged on its plain merits, not in the discussions that went on during its deliberation. As for asking whether you are a citizen or not does it make any difference to the Globalists or not if anyone is a citizen ? It seems not, but then again they have the money and connections to go and live anywhere in the world, while treating the rest of us as Wage-Slaves.

  150. Separation of Powers? Constitution? No man is above the law? Any of this ringing a bell?

  151. Why is it relevant if and when Wilbur Ross discussed the question. Isn’t the matter whether it is legal or not to ask the question on the form ?

  152. @Dady, it is relevant because there is a prescribed procedure for adding questions to the census under the law. The procedure allows public comment, examines the likely effect the question will have on the accuracy of the census, and allows for testing. Census Bureau employees have advised Wilbur Ross on the hit to the accuracy. Ross added the question after the deadline for the normal process, at the behest of Steve Bannon. But he lied and said the Justice Department asked for the question, which they did not. He basically ordered the question added without regard to established process. The legality of the question is affected by how it was done.

  153. @Ken L, sorry but I think you made this up. If not, please give us the references to look up this "prescribed procedure" you speak of. Hard for me to believe Mr. Ross didn't follow a "prescribed procedure" if it indeeds exists.

  154. And when SCOTUS rules in favor of Wilbur, and they will, the correct response will be to refuse to answer the survey. I will wait until the sheriff is at my door, and then some, to make it known that the vibrancy and health of America is not just in its citizens, but in its ability to offer the fulfillment of dreams to people from other countries escaping poverty and oppression. I will stand up like the Statue of Liberty (oh boy!) and simply say, “I prefer not to,” and take the lumps that result. Of course, with my mouth, this citizen from birth will likely have been deported by the time the census rolls around, given the direction our nation is going.

  155. @Pietro Allar I too will refuse to answer such citizenship question. I did some checking, it looks as though a blank response will prompt a visit from a census taker. If enough of us refuse to respond to the question, I'm sure that a few of us will be fined in order to set an example. (I'm going to start saving now:)

  156. @Pietro Allar No one is advocating getting rid of immigration or to not assist asylum seekers, only that it be done legally.

  157. @Pietro Allar I understand the sentiment, but it is not a good idea to avoid answering the census questions completely. We want to get the best count possible, so that our communities will have the funding and representation they deserve

  158. This will be an interesting test of just how openly disingenuous the conservatives on the Supreme Court are willing to be. Enough for a majority decision? Original Intent conservatives demand that the court must "determine what the authors of the text were trying to achieve, and to give effect to what they intended the statute to accomplish, the actual text of the legislation notwithstanding." They will magically conclude the exact intent of authors dead for a century or two. Reading tea leaves, holding a seance, nothing seems to be off the table when it comes to divining intent. At least when it matches the Justice's intent. But when the authors are alive, when there are tweets, memos, fund raising letters, dozens of related actions that make it obvious what the intent is, well then conservatives all of sudden can't possibly read the minds of their fellow conservatives. The GOP has been openly, proudly, engaging in a multi year effort of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and purposefully under counting minorities. How many Justice's will ignore what is obvious to get the partisan result they want? Most likely answer: As many as they need.

  159. People object to the census counting citizens. The word "census" whose roots lay in the process of the Roman Empire used to count its citizens. Things are going from the ridiculous to the sublime.

  160. I’m calling this 5-4, with democracy losing. Roberts to hold out for a bigger case against “trump”, we hope and pray.

  161. As a citizen, I'll just take a knee and answer "no".

  162. A citizen or a non-citizen who is in the country legally (I was one) should have no problem answering that question honestly. Only illegal aliens would have concerns, as they should. They are here illegally.

  163. What’s hilarious to me is that the same people who claim that immigrants won’t complete the Census of it asks about citizenship are also the same people who will try to claim that immigrants pay taxes... So in other words we’re supposed to believe that people who are afraid to fill out an anonymous survey will first apply for an EIN and then give the government money while also providing a name, employer, and address? Liberals are as opposed to facts and common sense on immigration as conservatives are on climate change...

  164. In addition to creating inaccurate numbers w/regard to the census, and thus negatively impacting hundreds of billions of dollars worth of support for low income individuals and families, when I read about this issue I am always left wondering... ...what are the hidden legal ramifications to immigrants who either do not complete the census, or who are not wholly forthcoming? Will this become one more cudgel this administration - or future administrations - uses to abuse and terrorize our valued - and much needed - immigrant population?

  165. I loved Wilbur Ross as Sturmbannführer Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Looks no worse for wear after what happened when they opened the ark at the end of the movie.

  166. Are their bets being taken on what the Republican Supreme Court will determine in this case?

  167. This issue seems to be like Mr. Trump's Emergency Declaration of a Humanitarian Crisis on the Border. A fake disaster. We are supposed to count everyone in the census, regardless of citizenship, great. Question: How many illegal aliens are going to fill out that horse blanket sized form? Many cannot even speak English much less read it. The current census taking is an archaic and useless exercise. I have filled them in dutifully for many years, but how accurate is the information. I do my best but for the love of Mike some of the questions are absurd. In my opinion, "Are you a citizen of the United States of America?" is one of the more pertinent pieces of information a census could record. Is it 10 million illegals or 20 million illegals that we are harboring? Who are they? Are they really good hard working, law abiding folk, (my experience is yes they are "mostly". You will never get answers to these questions from the current census, regardless of whether you ask or don't ask the "citizenship question." What the US needs to do is what every country; other than the USA does, require that everyone have a national identity card, citizen or not. This does not cure illegal immigration but it does allow the authorities some levers to know who and who is not here legally, which I think is important. It can also give the government the real data on whether they believe illegal aliens are a benefit or a detriment to our society.

  168. Choose to not participate in the census if you are a Democrat in a Red state. The Republicans are turning it into another partisan tool in their break the Constitution tool kit. If Republicans in Blue states boycott too, good, the census can join the scrap heap of institutions Trump and the GOP have destroyed.

  169. Given Bush v. Gore and Citizens United I am not optimistic about the outcome.

  170. The census is required to count every US citizen illegal immigrants are not citizens period The distribution of congressional districts is to represent US citizen not illegal immigrants

  171. If the citizenship question is asked, it will push states like California to do more for themselves on their own, with correspondingly less regard for federal priorities. The GOP may come to regret that it starved the federal beast, only to unleash the West Coast lion.

  172. Supreme court hearing a case on census citizenship question is in order. It is ridiculous if a census is conducted and one does not know how many persons in the USA are citizens, how many permanent residents, how many temporary residents and how many are undocumented. A census is conducted what once in a decade. Why do a wishy washy census that does not ask the pertienent questions as long as it is not exploited by politicians.

  173. The Supreme Court is not going to decide whether this question is can be asked on the census. They don't even need to listen to the arguments from both sides. That is because they have already made up their minds. The judges have decided this case, just like so many other case they have decided. The judges are going to vote with their political parties and the decision is going to go right along party lines. Why waste the time and money tit costs o go through the pretense. Put all the cases on a docket and coral the judges in a room, for an afternoon. They can twist and turn our Constitution to bend to the outcomes they want, in a just a matter of minutes. They walk into the room with the baggage of predetermined decisions. It will really only take a few hours and the outcomes will be the same. Supreme Court judge-ships have become just another political position candidates run for.

  174. Do I have this right: corporations are people, but brown immigrants are not?

  175. I am glad that the Supreme Court has decided to take up this issue. Without the citizenship question the census loses value as a tool for which it was established. The census is used to determine representation in Congress from the various states and to determine the size of congressional districts. If we do not know how many US citizens live in an area or state it becomes impossible to correctly allocate the number of representatives each state has in Congress. The representation is supposed to be based on citizenship, not total population, so to ensure that each citizen's vote has the same weight they need to know how many citizens are in each state to properly apportion the number of representatives. The states need to know the distribution of citizens within their borders in order to draw congressional boundaries to represent equal numbers of citizens. To have the census without the citizenship question would undoubtedly lead to illegal immigrants and resident aliens being considered in the apportionment. This would lead to states with large numbers of non-citizen residents having more representation than they would be legally entitled under the Constitution and state with fewer non-citizen residents having their representation shortchanged.

  176. You are wrong. The Constitution doesn’t say citizens, it says people. They counted slaves as 3/5 of a person. The census should just count people not ask questions unrelated to that enumeration.

  177. @sailbum They represent everyone in their district. For example, permanent residents are not citizens, but they are here legally, they have all rights of citizens except the right to vote--some even serve in the military, they have the right to work, and they pay all taxes. They are also represented by your representative and your senators.

  178. We must know how many people live in the US and we MUST know how many are citizens. It is the only way to justly apportion congressional representatives who take an oath to represent the CITIZENS not foreigners.

  179. @TED338 They take an oath to uphold the Constitution. And they represent everyone in their district, not just citizens. People who are permanent residents, for example, are legally here, have the right to work, have all rights under the Constitution except the right to vote--many even serve in the US military, and they pay all taxes.

  180. Isn't the most precious right of being a citizen of the United States to vote in our free and fair elections? I want to be governed by a government elected by the laws of my democratic republic that was died for since it's founding to protect it. Some may feel that China, Russia... socialist states are utopia but history proves otherwise.

  181. Doesn't bother me, I'm not answering anything unless I'm getting paid.

  182. Under the constitution can the Supreme Court volunteer to hear a case before the appellate courts have ruled? Also citizenship data is already available through birth and naturalization records. So is there a need for the question? Given this tecnnical fact, Does the question of original intent even arise?

  183. I've lived near the Mexican border for 45 years. Like the many tens of thousands of other Americans who have spoken out in the past several months, I can honestly and plainly state that there is no emergency. That said, also as an attorney for the past forty years, I would caution those who believe the Supreme Court will hand Trump a defeat here. They were quite willing to go to ridiculous lengths to approve his Muslim ban (even when there was no showing of terrorists coming from the nations whose citizens he has banned), even without Kavanaugh's vote, which is virtually assured. And also as an attorney, I would caution those who say that, should the Supreme Court approve this ridiculous stunt, then Democrats may do the same. This Supreme Court has shown that it is no longer a neutral institution. What they permit Republicans to do they will easily ban for Democrats. This Court has favored Christianity (Bake Shop case) over Islam (executed inmate Dominique Ray). It was extremely restrictive against President Obama's exercise of executive authority, while ceding all power to Trump. Anyone who has any faith in the impartiality of this Supreme Court would do well to reconsider. They will continue to go out of their way to toady to a mentally unfit, deranged man voted in by a minority of citizens. Bet the rent on it.

  184. @Donegal I am very much afraid that you are correct.

  185. I believe Judge Furman is about to get a needed lesson in constitutional law.

  186. So this case is about violation of a statute, clearly proven at trial. And, of course, we have lying to add a question to the census designed to skew the count -- or at least for some nefarious reason important enough for Wilburr Ross to lie to Congress about. Justices Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch -- I am waiting to see how you originalists intend to override this logically bullet-proof statutory decision. It's not, of course, illogically bullet proof.

  187. Good. The anti-immigrant "national emergency" may make its way to the high court, too. Remember the robed-ones upheld a modified version of the Muslim ban. The decision on this anti-immigrant question could give us a tell as to whether or not we are headed for a nationalist inspired coup, and that our Constitution is beginning to mean squat.

  188. @Carl Lee unfortunately, that began with Bush v Gore, when the Supreme Court ignored 200+ years of precedent to reach out and resolve a political question they had no business deciding.

  189. This isn't a perfect answer, but hear me out: just lie. Trump and the whole array of irredeemable grotesque monsters that make up the GOP lie all day every day. If you're uncomfortable with the question, just lie.

  190. wow Imagine a Jew in Germany 1935 and the New Census added a question about Are You A Jew? I say this as a foreigner, one that lived in the US on assignment through 9/11 that left a massive positive impression about united Americans : it is truly disappointing that America appears to have completed the cycle of most western democracies. Innocence/idealism and honesty/patriotism are lost. You live in age where a right wing president lives values and promotes policies that should be deeply insulting to actual conservative / libertarian values. The world has, since about 1937 not had as many dangerous regimes as we have now. (Russia, North Korea, China, Iran, Saudi, Turkey, Syria plus a dozen African governments and half a dozen right wing east European and, dare I say, America) We all saw how 1937 turned out

  191. Just as with the change to Personal income tax deductions, this is all about defunding the states that Republicans have a big chip on their shoulder about.

  192. I am second generation; born in Brooklyn. Both my parents were born in the US. All 4 of my grands were immigrants. I will not answer this question. It is a fraudulent attempt by this treasonous, traitorous administration to violate the Constitution. (Just like today's action, declaring a national emergency in order to fulfill a campaign promise--but that's a discussion for a different article). Article I, Section 2 spells out quite clearly that the Census is to cover the Whole Number of free persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. That clause was changed by Section 2 of the 14th Amendment. The current occupant of the White House also wants to end birthright citizenship, so I guess he'd like to throw out the entire 14th Amendment, if he could.

  193. Very few law abiding residents would object to truthfully answering whether or not they are illegally in the country. If an illegal resident objects to answering a question about his/her legal status, that in and of itself presents a problem. Come to our country.....fine.....you are welcome here....as long as you follow our laws. Otherwise, you're a law breaker and only reinforces what President Trump claims about illegal immigrants.

  194. About time - SCOTUS put this issue to bed in favor of the administration. I just turned 70 and applied for my social security on line. As an aside - they have made it real easy to do this online. On that form - under a penalty if fine and imprisonment - you have to declare where you were born and if you are a US citizen - all this to collect your own money that you put in the kitty. If it's ok for Social Security folks - why not our government which makes disbursal and decisions on welfare based in these census. And with a heightened security over enforcement of immigration - surely, lawyers are going to troll for cases if abuse occurs. Finally - all Americans and all foreigners - when entering our country have to declare their citizenship. So, what's the big deal here?

  195. 1. “By its terms, therefore, the Constitution mandates that every 10 years the federal government endeavor to count every single person residing in the United States, whether citizen or noncitizen, whether living here with legal status or without” The terms of the constitution or liberal judges? Considering it was written during a time when there were few, if any restrictions on immigration, it's dishonest to say that it mandates counting illegal aliens. Doing so rewards lawbreaking, encourages more of it and undermines the representation and dollars that citizens receive. 2. "Critics say that adding the question on citizenship would undermine the accuracy of the census because both legal and unauthorized immigrants might refuse to fill out the forms." That's their choice. The same could've been said about it being asked until 1950. 3. " That could reduce Democratic representation when congressional districts are drawn in 2021 and affect the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending." I thought Democrats opposed foreigners influencing our elections. Or do they like it when it benefits them? That's obvious. 4. "Dale Ho, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the addition of the citizenship question, said that it “would cause incalculable damage to our democracy.” How about the calculable damage to democracy that counting illegal aliens does? No concern there, huh Dale?

  196. Suddenly, I seem to remember that Mom said we were originally Mexican.

  197. Trump just handed liberals the way to start rounding up guns from Republicans lol. Gun control here we come!

  198. What is the primary Constitutional purpose of the census? 1. To be used in the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and 2. To be used in the apportionment of federal funds to the public. Of course, it is very useful in better defining the demographic (age, occupation, race, religion, number of children, etc.) makeup of the population. Is it unreasonable to ask, as part of the a census, if you are a citizen of this country? Honestly, I cannot think of a rational argument against asking this simple question. Yes, it will probably result in undocumented (some say illegal) immigrants from providing accurate information or participating, but they should not be here (not really an arguable point) and certainly should not be counted for purposes of reapportionment. Also, there is great variation in the estimate of how many undocumented immigrants are here, ranging from 10 million to 30 million. Using the census to help better define their number seems, to me, to be quite reasonable.

  199. The VRA angle is just a political distraction. The reality is that the GOP wants to under-count certain populations so they can adjust the 2020 Congressional redistricting efforts and to reduce federal spending sent to the state level. It is a technical play that has nothing to do with fairness, voting or justice. It is an attempt to manipulate the political system.

  200. The fact found by the trial court that Ross worked to disguise his actual reason for adding the question, is reason enough to cause it not to be added. If his real reason needs to be disguised then it has no place being added. We should not allow the constitutionally mandated counting of heads, be turned into a political tool for questionable behavior. When someone lies about their reason for doing something, their real reason is something you wouldn't agree or approve. We may never know Ross's real intent, but his need to deceive us should disqualify the request. If the Framers had intended the Census to determine citizens from residents, it would have said so. If Ross wants this changed he should ask Congress to pass a law to change the process. Due to the likely impact this change would have, it seems it is counter to the constitutionally mandated accurate headcount.

  201. Oh come off it. Asking if you are a citizen or not is now a problem? This is a basic question that should have been on every census form since the first one. Hopefully once June comes around, it will be on every one from now on. I'm not even a Trump supporter and I find opposition to a citizenship question ridiculous.

  202. this debate clearly illustrates why we need federal legislation requiring a National ID Card. in addition to satisfying the conservatives who are paranoid about zombie voters, it would require employers to validate that every employee has such a Card. the latter requirement is essential in controlling immigration and would satisfy liberals. In addition, it would seem relatively easy in the repetitive ten year Census to count those with such Cards and those without one. as we know, the Constitution requires that members of the House of Rep. is based on the TOTAL number of people in each Congressional district, as upheld in several Supreme Court decisions. If people who are illegally in the US and choose somehow not to be counted, that's their decision. If a political party is upset by this, then it needs to educate and persuade those illegal persons to stand up and be counted since that is a core tenet of our democracy.