Supreme Court punts on Trump bid to exclude immigrants from census

LEGAL

Supreme Court punts on Trump bid to exclude immigrants from census

The high court’s six Republican nominees ruled that the legal challenge to Trump’s order was “premature.”

An American flag waves in front of the Supreme Court building.

An American flag waves in front of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill. | Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

By ZACH MONTELLARO and JOSH GERSTEIN

12/18/2020 10:44 AM EST

Updated: 12/18/2020 11:55 AM EST

The Supreme Court has rejected as premature a legal challenge to President Donald Trump’s bid to exclude all unlawful immigrants from apportionment data for the 2020 census.

The ruling, which appeared to split the court along ideological lines, leaves unresolved the possibility that Trump or a future president may be able to leave out some groups of non-citizens from the critical tally used to allocate House seats.

The court’s majority did not squarely address the legality of excluding from the count all foreigners illegally in the country, but said that it appears impractical to do so.

“Everyone agrees by now that the Government cannot feasibly implement the memorandum by excluding the estimated 10.5 million aliens without lawful status,” an unsigned opinion from the court’s majority read. “Yet the only evidence speaking to the predicted change in apportionment unrealistically assumes that the President will exclude the entire undocumented population.”

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