It seemed to be a bitter loss on the surface, the Supreme Court of the United States finding that the Department of Commerce did not adequately make its case for including a citizenship question on the 2020 census. At first, that seemed to mean that the survey which was set to be printed as early as the first week of July would not include any question on whether or not the people living in the United States were really citizens, and therefore whether or not they should be counted in the population numbers used to divvy up the seats in the House of Representatives.
Not so fast, claim any number of observers and legal scholars. All Chief Justice John Roberts did with his opinion in the decision was to tell the Department of Commerce to come up with a better explanation of why they want the question. Protecting the Voter Rights Act apparently was not enough for him. There must be some more compelling reason than that.
In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito said that the Commerce Department can ask whatever they want as the Census is under their purview. In actuality, Roberts agreed with that. But allowing the question to remain, of course, would undermine the effort of those who want to count absolutely everyone in the population numbers, not just citizens, to keep the status quo rather than redrawing the electoral college map.
For his part, President Donald Trump took to his Twitter account and essentially told the Commerce Department to hold off until the explanation can be made, and the Supreme Court has a chance to rule again.
Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020. I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
During the same session, the Supreme Court also ruled that the drawing of district maps for representatives was a matter for the states to determine, not the courts, and allowed multiple states their new maps to stand.