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Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday night blocked a federal court order demanding Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross face questioning in a lawsuit challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Why it matters: The decision is a major blow to the 18 states suing Ross, which argue that the additional question will discourage both legal and illegal immigrants from participating in the census. The census is used to determine electoral boundaries and the distribution of federal funds.

What's next: The Supreme Court's decision means that the trial in New York, set to begin on Nov. 5, will go forward without Ross’ deposition. However, the justices declined to halt the deposition for the acting head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, John Gore, and ordered that the administration hand over more documents related to the issue.

The backdrop: Ross has recently changed his explanation for adding the question. He initially told a congressional committee that he had only talked with officials at the DOJ to determine the question's legality, but he recently said that Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, also played a role in his decision.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.