President Donald Trump put in place a plan to omit illegal immigrants from congressional reapportionment numbers; Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in Trump v. New York means he may proceed, for now. The high court struck down a federal district court injunction preventing his administration from proceeding to change the way Census numbers are used. However, the decision did not rule on the plan itself but ruled that the plaintiffs had no standing. Justice Steven Breyer wrote in dissent, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor.
Politicians from places with lots of illegals benefit massively from their inclusion in the census. This steals congressional power from U.S. citizens in locations with fewer illegals and delivers it to the citizens (or voting non-citizens) in areas with lots of illegal aliens.
Let’s take California and its 53-seat congressional delegation, for instance. A 2012 Department of Homeland Security estimate put California’s population of illegal aliens at 7.5%. As 7.5 % of 53 is 3.98, that means California has four too many seats in the House of Representatives, whose power should be allocated elsewhere.
Federal law implementing the census requires delivery of a report from the Secretary of Commerce to the President, and another from the president to the Congress. Per the Supreme Court’s unsigned majority opinion:
“This past July, the President issued a memorandum to the Secretary respecting the apportionment following the 2020 census. The memorandum announced a policy of excluding ‘from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.’”
So Trump ordered another set of numbers be reported – ones that excluded illegals to the extent possible. Per Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog, the lower court ruled the plaintiffs “had standing to proceed in federal court because the memorandum was chilling aliens and their families from responding to the census, thereby degrading the quality of census data used to allocate federal funds and forcing some plaintiffs to divert resources to combat the chilling effect.”
The majority ruled that the plaintiffs couldn’t have standing because the damages they allege have yet to occur and therefore can’t be addressed now. The opinion said, “We express no view on the merits of the constitutional and related statutory claims presented. We hold only that they are not suitable for adjudication at this time.” So, hold on to your scorecards because this case will probably be back at the high court before too long.
Justice Breyer writing for the dissenters said:
“To the extent there is some overlap between aliens without lawful status and persons who would not be counted under the ordinary census procedures, that cannot justify the exclusion of aliens simply on account of their immigration status. It is our task to review the policy as promulgated, and that policy draws a distinction that the statute does not allow.”
President Trump is required to send his state-by-state apportionment breakdown to Congress by January 10.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.