Supreme Court Blocks Census Citizenship Question For Now

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Supreme Court Blocks Census Citizenship Question For Now
In its opinion, the court said it doesn't think the Trump administration's rationale for adding the citizenship question is valid.
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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration cannot include a citizenship question on the 2020 census — at least, for now.

Some necessary background first — the citizenship question hasn't been included on a decennial census since 1950. But the federal government says it wants to bring it back to help the Department of Justice better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Census data is used to determine how federal funds are spent, political representation in Congress, and the size of the country's population, among other things. But critics say that data could get skewed if people don't fill out the census because they're worried about a citizenship question.

The question has faced numerous court challenges since the administration first announced plans to add it back in 2018.

The Supreme Court's decision is a tad complicated. Ultimately, the court decided that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' decision to reinstate the question was "reasonable." But at the same time, the court doesn't think the Trump administration's rationale for adding the question is valid. 

As such, the justices ruled that the lower court was right to send the citizenship question back to the agency for more explanation. That means the question could still be included on the census if the Commerce Department gives valid reasoning in the future. The administration would probably need to do that soon, the current deadline to finalize printing for the 2020 census is July 1.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.