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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit of the Donald Trump Administration’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census figures, which will be used for the redistribution of political representation and federal funds over the next decade.
The six conservative judges, including the three appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Republican majority in the Senate, said the lawsuit initiated by more than 20 states is premature. The three most liberal judges disagreed with the decision.
The Supreme Court majority said, in an unsigned opinion, that “the case is rife with contingencies and speculation that preclude judicial review.”
The census is carried out in the United States, by constitutional mandate, every 10 years and on its results the representation of the states in the federal Congress and the Electoral College is distributed, as well as billions of dollars in federal funds for education, health, housing, infrastructure and social assistance programs.
The Constitution requires that the decennial census count all people living in the country, but Trump, in a memo issued in July, called for excluding undocumented immigrants when it comes time to redistribute representation.
Trump instructed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to present him with two results from this year’s census, with one excluding undocumented immigrants. The president believes that some states are getting more than their fair share of representation because of the number of undocumented immigrants living there.
Today’s Supreme Court decision does not express an opinion on the constitutional merits of the Trump memo or the lawsuits, and notes that they only determined that “(those merits) are not appropriate for an adjudication at this time.”
The three dissenting Justices, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, wrote that the “plain meaning” of the existing laws, decades of historical practice, and uniform interpretations by the three branches of government demonstrate that aliens without legal residence cannot be excluded from the ten-year census solely because of that status.