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Cities Are Bracing for 2020 Census Chaos

The Supreme Court may decide the fate of the citizenship question that the Trump administration wants to add to the census.
Attorneys leave the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Maryland, after a hearing on the federal government's motion to dismiss the NAACP lawsuit over concerns about the 2020 census.
Attorneys leave the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Maryland, after a hearing on the federal government's motion to dismiss the NAACP lawsuit over concerns about the 2020 census.Michael Kunzelman/AP

The first federal court decision about the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census did not leave much room for debate. U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman’s 277-page ruling, described as “crystal clear” and “remarkably restrained” by constitutional scholars and lawyers, outlined what Furman called a “veritable smorgasbord” of administrative law violations by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who misled Congress when he said that the Department of Justice had originally requested the citizenship question.

But this court’s decision won’t be the last word in the matter. On Tuesday, a federal court in Maryland began hearing a suit brought forward by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Asian Americans Advancing Justice that argues that Ross, President Donald Trump, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and former White House advisor Stephen Bannon conspired to deprive minorities of equal representation. That’s just one of eight pending challenges (not counting appeals) over the citizenship question.