A federal judge in San Francisco is blocking the Commerce Department from adding a question on citizenship to the 2020 United States census.
Judge Richard Seeborg said Secretary Wilbur Ross has failed to offer plausible reason to add a citizenship question to the next census. Seeborg wrote in his ruling that Ross' reliance on the Voting Rights Act to justify the question was "arbitrary" and "capricious." The Trump Administration made the decision last March and it was immediately challenged in court by a number of states.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was quick to react to the judge's ruling in this case.
"The Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine the census is a direct attack on our constitution and democracy," Padilla wrote. "As Judge Seeborg wrote in his ruling, 'the inclusion of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census threatens the very foundation of our democratic system'—I could not agree more. Today's ruling is clear—a census citizenship question is not just unconstitutional, it would have drastic repercussions for our country, and California communities, for years to come. An undercount in the census would jeopardize fair representation, one of the very tenants our country was founded upon."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is also lauding the ruling.
"Justice has prevailed for each and every Californian who should raise their hands to be counted in the 2020 Census without being discouraged by a citizenship question," said Becerra. "We celebrate this ruling, an important step in protecting billions of dollars meant for critical services Californians rely on, from education, to public health and safety. We look forward to a 2020 Census free of partisanship, where every person can be counted equally and without prejudice."
California was among the states to take the Trump administration to court when it was announced last year that the citizenship question would be added to the census form.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the Census Bureau is already in the process of seeking legal status data.
The Supreme Court is due to take up the issue in April of this year.