Feb 15, 2019

Supreme Court to hear Trump appeal on census citizenship question

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the Trump administration in its efforts to add a controversial citizenship citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Why it matters: Critics of the citizenship question argue it could lead to an inaccurate census count, as legal and undocumented immigrants might refuse to participate. Demographers believe an undercount could reduce the political power of heavily Democratic states with large immigrant communities during redistricting in 2021.

  • The other side: The administration argues it would help it enforce the Voting Rights Act. However, John Gore, the acting head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, said last year the question is "not necessary" to enforce the VRA.

The backdrop:

  • Steve Bannon and other administration officials started pushing for the addition months after President Trump took office, according to internal documents. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, said the DOJ recommended adding the question.
  • 18 states, several cities and immigrant groups notched a win over the administration last month when a federal judge in New York ruled against the Trump administration and said Ross “violated the law.” However, the judge did not find evidence the question was unconstitutional or motivated by any intent to discriminate.
  • The question hasn't been asked on the standard census form since 1950.

Go deeper: The full implications of the citizenship question

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post at the end of the month, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health