After the Supreme Court’s sharp rebuke of the Trump administration’s rationale for wanting the citizenship question in the 2020 census, it appeared to resolve the controversial issue.
And when administration officials announced Tuesday they would not seek to challenge the high court’s ruling, most Americans thought the issue was over — until the president himself weighed in.
“We are absolutely moving forward, as we must,” President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday.
He then laid blame at the feet of the media for what he called “fake news.”
“The news reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the citizenship question on the census is incorrect, or, to state it differently, FAKE!” Trump said.
“Though ultimately the Trump administration may prevail in having the citizenship question added, the Trump administration has to adequately explain how eliciting the citizenship question data will help them better enforce the Voting Rights Act,” said Southern Methodist University Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss.
In writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that the explanation for preferred federal policy must “not only be reasoned and genuine but also legible to both courts and interested public.”
The ruling marked a historic win for democracy, said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
“In blocking Trump’s ability to add a citizenship question, the court has ensured that voting rights for people of color are protected, and that all communities — regardless of race, ethnicity, geographic location, religious views, political affiliation, and country of origin — are fairly represented,” Waters said.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said the future of the nation’s democracy was at the forefront of the ruling.
“The ruling in favor of partisan gerrymandering underscores the necessity of citizen participation in the electoral process,” Clyburn said in a statement. “Stacking the deck for partisan gain is not ideal for democracy or the principle of one person, one vote. Most Americans believe in fairness and due process, but not enough are able to participate in the electoral process. This must change going forward or we will soon experience some backward lurches.”
National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. concurred: “We should have a census campaign that practices the importance of including everybody rather than excluding certain people.”
Trump had pledged to delay the 2020 census and he said his administration still plan to include a question that inquiries about a person’s citizenship status.
However, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said justice must now be done and everyone must be counted. Johnson said the strength of America’s democracy depends on it.
“The court today rejected the Trump administration’s fraudulent justification for adding the citizenship question,” Johnson said. “The highest court in the land — in an opinion authored by a chief justice appointed by a Republican president — has effectively ruled that the head of one federal government agency, the Department of Commerce, lied to the nation, aided and abetted by the head of another federal agency, the Department of Justice.”