SCOTUS Set To Weigh Trump Census Power Grab Before Inauguration

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But it's one with major implications if Trump can secure enough votes from the court - which by then will likely include his latest nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett - to let him implement the policy.

The move sets up an expedited legal fight that includes a hearing before the high court on November 30, a month before federal law says the latest state population counts for reapportioning the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the states are due to the president.

The Supreme Court on October 14 allowed the Trump administration to wind down population counting for the census early in a blow to civil rights advocates who said it could lead to an undercount of racial minorities. The challengers to the policy also argue that it violates the Constitution's mandate that a "whole number of persons" make up the count for apportionment.

The high court also had the option to affirm or vacate the lower court order from a three-judge panel in NY without agreeing to hold arguments.

The constitutionally-mandated process to determine the number of House seats for each state occurs every 10 years after the census is taken.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing a coalition of immigrant advocacy groups, said Trump's violation of federal law is "not particularly close or complicated".

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"President Trump has repeatedly tried - and failed - to weaponize the census for his attacks on immigrant communities", Ho said.

Last month, a lower court ruling blocked Trump's push, calling the presidential memo that called for that unprecedented change unlawful. "Second, the Presidential Memorandum violates the statute governing apportionment because, so long as they reside in the United States, illegal aliens qualify as "persons in" a "State" as Congress used those words".

Texas Republicans have also asked for census data that would allow them to exclude such residents when they redraw the electoral districts for the state Legislature.

The census itself does not gather data on citizenship or immigration status. Doing so would shift political power away from areas such as Houston and the Rio Grande Valley and toward less Latino, more rural areas of the state.

A statement released by the bureau on Friday, however, leaves open the possibility that those numbers won't be delivered to the president by the December 31 deadline. On Tuesday, the justices granted an appeal from Trump's lawyers and said the Commerce Department could halt its counting and field operations this week. They signaled in their order Friday that they would decide the issue by early January, when Trump must report the once-a-decade census results to Congress.

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