Supreme Court Video

Supreme Court to Decide Fate of Census Citizenship Question

The Supreme Court should not force the removal of the citizenship question from the census. I was on Fox News to discuss.


DANA PERINO (HOST): I want to start with this census because I feel like that is the one that is, in some ways, the most politically charged. Your sense, Elizabeth, as to what you think will happen when the court, this new court, now that we have Judge Kavanaugh on the bench, what do you think’s going to happen there?

ELIZABETH WYDRA (CONSTITUTIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY CENTER): Well, after arguments, it seems like the court was very divided, maybe with the conservative majority as you mentioned now fully formed with Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch from President Trump on the bench. But they might believe the Trump administration’s justification for the question. But a lot of people, in fact there was some new evidence that just came out, believed that this question is not intended to enforce the Voting Rights Act. No one has ever thought that it was needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act before, but instead is intended to advantage Republicans in particular, and people who — and non-Hispanic whites. And the idea of the census in the Constitution is really a sacred counting of all of those in this country who should be represented, regardless of whether you’re a citizen or not.

PERINO: And there was a citizenship question that was on it up until about the 1950s. Gayle, let me read to you from the Wall Street Journal editorial today that said: “Recall that only months ago Democrats claimed the Trump administration was using the Voting Rights Act as a pretext to discriminate against Hispanics in liberal states. Now they’re upset that Hofeller figured out how elect more Hispanics and more Republicans to Congress at the same time.” This new evidence that Elizabeth mentioned, I wonder how you think that the court might consider that, or will it not enter into any of their discussions?

GAYLE TROTTER (JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK): That’s just a load of irrelevant noise that the court should not consider. This is just common sense. The government should know how many citizens there are in the United States. And this question is race-neutral, it applies to everyone. If you’re Irish, French, Italian, Swedish, you answer the question. And it’s something that the government could — that Congress could decide that they did not want the Department of Commerce to ask because in the past Congress has legislated that the — you could not be asked about your religious affiliation on the census. But Congress has chosen not to act in this case. And it’s just common sense that the government would want to know how many U.S. citizens there are.

PERINO: Well we’ll see. Everyone’s certainly going to be taking a look at these two. . . .