Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 36° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

2nd group of judges blocks Trump order on House seats count

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 22, 2020

FILE - In this Sunday, April 5, 2020 file photo, An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident is shown in Detroit. A top lawmaker says the Trump administration is seeking to delay deadlines for the 2020 census because of the coronavirus outbreak. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said Monday, April 13, 2020 that administration officials also were asking that the timetable for releasing apportionment and redistricting data used to draw congressional and legislative districts be pushed back.  (Paul Sancya)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 5, 2020 file photo, An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident is shown in Detroit. A top lawmaker says the Trump administration is seeking to delay deadlines for the 2020 census because of the coronavirus outbreak. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said Monday, April 13, 2020 that administration officials also were asking that the timetable for releasing apportionment and redistricting data used to draw congressional and legislative districts be pushed back. (Paul Sancya)
By Mike Schneider Associated Press

For the second time in two months, a panel of federal judges on Thursday blocked President Donald Trump’s effort to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from being counted during the process of divvying up congressional seats by state.

The decision from a panel of three district judges in California went further than last month’s ruling by a panel of three federal judges in New York by saying that Trump’s order in July not only was unlawful but also violated the constitution. The New York judges ignored the question of the order’s constitutionality and just said it was unlawful.

“The policy which the Presidential Memorandum attempts to enact has already been rejected by the Constitution, the applicable statutes, and 230 years of history,” the judges in California wrote.

The Trump administration has appealed the New York decision to the Supreme Court, and the nation’s high court agreed to hear the case next month.

Other challenges to Trump’s order are pending in Maryland, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

The Department of Justice, which is representing the Trump administration, didn’t immediately respond to an email inquiry Thursday.

The case was heard before a panel of three district judges since it deals with how many congressional seats each state gets based on population figures from the once-a-decade census — a process known as apportionment. Any appeal can bypass an appellate court and go straight to the Supreme Court.

During arguments earlier this month, Trump administration attorneys told the judges that any challenge to the order was premature and should wait until the apportionment numbers are turned in at year’s end.

The Census Bureau is still figuring out a method for determining the citizenship status of every U.S. resident. During a news conference on Wednesday, bureau officials refused to answer whether carrying out the order was feasible at this point.

In the order, Trump said that allowing people in the country illegally to be counted for apportionment undermines the principles of representative democracy.

The federal judges in California sided with a coalition of individuals and governments that had sued the Trump administration, arguing the order discriminates against people based on race, ethnicity, and national origin. The coalition included the state of California; the city of San Jose, California; and the counties that are home to Houston and Seattle.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.



Annual health and dental insurance enrollment period open now

 (Courtesy Washington Healthplanfinder)
Sponsored

2020 has been a stressful year for myriad reasons.