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With Supreme Court Ruling On Census Question Coming Soon, A Look At Its Potential Effects On California

Official form the 2020 census paper questionnaires.
Official form the 2020 census paper questionnaires.
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

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It’s impossible to predict exactly when it will come down, but Supreme Court watchers and Americans across the country are anxiously awaiting a ruling in Department of Commerce v. New York, which concerns a controversial question that the Trump administration wants to add to the 2020 U.S. Census that would as respondents to divulge their citizenship status.

The case itself seeks to overturn a ruling by a judge in the Southern District of New York which ruled that the Commerce Department was prohibited from putting the question on the census, but the larger question revolves around whether or not the addition of the question would hinder the government’s constitutionally-assigned duty to perform its once-every-ten-years count of the U.S. population. The Trump administration says the question would help to better enforce a 1965 law that is aimed at protecting voting rights of minorities. Opponents say asking for citizenship status would depress responses, which would hurt the count’s accuracy, especially in places like California or Texas that have large immigrant populations. An undercount, they say, would not only provide the government with inaccurate data but also shift apportionment of congressional districts and federal funding that is tied to Census numbers.

Today on AirTalk, guest host Libby Denkmann gets the latest on the proceedings at the Supreme Court and what word on the street is about how the justices might rule on the Census citizenship question and explores the potential effects on California if the justices side with the Trump administration and allow the question on the Census.

With guest host Libby Denkmann


Amy Howe, co-founder of SCOTUSBlog and author of the blog “Howe on the Court”; she tweets @AHoweBlogger

Dylan Riley, professor of sociology at UC Berkeley and co-author of “Antecedents of Censuses from Medieval to Nation States: How States and Societies Count” (Palgrave, McMillan, 2016)