Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A federal judge in New York on Tuesday ruled against the Trump administration's decision to include a citizenship question to the 2020 census, siding with critics who argue that it's a partisan move that would lead to an inaccurate census count.

Why it matters: With the current polarized political climate, opponents say legal and undocumented immigrants would refuse to participate, and demographers believe that an undercount would skew the distribution of federal funds among states and reduce the political power of heavily Democratic states with large immigrant communities during the next round of redistricting in 2021.

Details: U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said the administration violated a law that requires federal agencies to thoroughly study an issue before implementing or changing a policy. He added that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, "violated the law ... [and] the public trust."

  • However, Furman said there’s no evidence to show that the decision to add the question was unconstitutional and motivated by an intent to discriminate, as the plaintiffs alleged.

The other side: The administration, which has maintained that adding the question — which hasn't been asked on the nation's standard census form since 1950 — would provide citizenship data for the Justice Department to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

  • But, John Gore, the acting head of the DOJ's civil rights division, said in a deposition last year that the question is "not necessary" to enforce the VRA.

What's next: This legal victory, led by plaintiffs that include New York and 17 other states as well as several cities and immigrant groups, is expected to reach the Supreme Court via a swift appeal from the administration.

  • The Supreme Court, which already intervened in the case on preliminary matters, will hear oral arguments in February to determine whether Ross should explain his reasoning for adding the controversial question.
  • This decision also comes as other similar challenges seeking to strike down the citizenship question are playing out in California and Maryland.

Go deeper: Trump goes to trial over 2020 census citizenship question

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"