President Trump suffered a major setback at the Supreme Court last week when the majority ruled that his administration could not include a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census. While the court stopped short of saying that such a question would be incompatible with the law, they concluded that the process by which the Department of Commerce went about developing the question was not appropriate. That might have left the door open to a re-do but for the fact that time is limited and the administration has to get on with printing the Census.
Most observers took this time-frame limitation to mean that the citizenship question was null and void; even administration officials acknowledged that they would move forward with printing the Census without the question. However, things changed a few days later when President Trump urged the Justice Department to find a way in which the Commerce Department could still include the question. And on Thursday, there were even reports that Trump might change the Census through the use of an executive order.
“So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a Citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census,” Trump tweeted on Thursday.
Axios reported: “The administration is considering the appropriateness of an executive order that would address the constitutional need for the citizenship question to be included in the 2020 census.”
While leftist organizations would undoubtedly challenge that order, which could put the case back in front of the Supreme Court, a source told Axios that such a scenario might be acceptable to the president.
“I think that there’s a good argument to be made that even though the president may lose in litigation at the end of the day, going through that process ultimately makes it clear that it’s the chief justice, and not the Executive Branch, that bears responsibility for that unfortunate outcome,” the source said.
As President Trump considers his options, at least one Republican congressman is urging him to move forward with the citizenship question. In a tweet on Thursday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said that Trump should ignore the legal advise coming from inside his administration and do what’s right for the country.
“It’s the lawyers advising him,” Roy wrote in a tweet. “He should ignore them. Completely. Print the Census with the questions — and issue a statement explaining why — ‘because we should.’ Done.”