U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court dismisses reapportionment case, says it's too soon to rule

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a case challenging President Donald Trump’s plan to exclude immigrants in the country illegally from numbers used to determine the number of congressional representatives for each state.

The Supreme Court said it was too soon to decide the case because there are so many unknowns, report the Washington Post, the New York Times and SCOTUSblog.

According to the New York Times, excluding the immigrants could shift the allotment of congressional seats “to states that are older, whiter and typically more Republican.”

At issue is a 14th Amendment provision that reads: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.” Data from the census is used to make the calculation.

Trump had sought to exclude immigrants without lawful status from reapportionment “to the extent feasible.” But the U.S. Census Bureau has said it might not be able to supply those figures while Trump is still in office, and it’s unclear how many people would be excluded from the count.

“At present, this case is riddled with contingencies and speculation that impede judicial review,” the Supreme Court said in a per curiam opinion.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer dissented in an opinion joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Breyer argued in his dissent that the plaintiffs challenging the policy have standing, the case is ripe for resolution, and the plaintiffs challenging the policy should prevail on the merits.

“The plain meaning of the governing statutes, decades of historical practice, and uniform interpretations from all three branches of government demonstrate that aliens without lawful status cannot be excluded from the decennial census solely on account of that status,” Breyer said. “The government’s effort to remove them from the apportionment base is unlawful, and I believe this court should say so.”

The case is Trump v. New York.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court considers Trump’s plan to adjust census based on immigration status”

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