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Trump admin seeks swift Supreme Court ruling on census citizenship question

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington
U.S. Supreme Court building. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Trump administration said Tuesday it will file a petition for the Supreme Court to take up and review whether it can add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census, which has been the subject of numerous lawsuits playing out in federal courts.

Why it matters: This comes a week after a federal judge in New York blocked the Commerce Department from asking the citizenship question. The ruling was a significant legal victory for critics who accused the administration of trying to use the census to reduce the political power of Democratic states with large immigrant communities during the next round of redistricting in 2021.

The big picture: This is yet another aggressive Justice Department effort to bypass the usual appellate process. The agency would have appealed last week’s ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, but Solicitor General Noel Francisco said the timing of a ruling would give the government insufficient time to prepare a final appeal to the high court.

"The government must finalize the census questionnaire by the end of June 2019 to enable it to be printed on time. It is exceedingly unlikely that there is sufficient time for review in both the court of appeals and in this Court by that deadline."
— Noel Francisco

Go deeper: New York federal judge blocks Trump on the 2020 census