A federal court dismissed a lawsuit that sought to end the government of President Donald Trump’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census, NPR public radio reported Thursday.
This is the first time that a federal court has ruled in favor of the Trump Administration after courts in New York, California and Maryland recently ruled against it.
The latest legal dispute was settled Wednesday by a panel of three judges, two of whom were appointed by Trump himself.
The court’s decision comes days before the Supreme Court next Monday hears legal arguments in a similar case that was settled at first instance by a New York court.
The Supreme Court decided to speed up its review of the New York ruling after pressure from the White House, which wants to leave the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country out of the count.
The census is conducted in the United States every 10 years by constitutional mandate, and the purpose of counting all people present in the country is the allocation of state representation in Congress and the Electoral College, and billions of dollars for infrastructure programs, hospitals, schools and social assistance.
In September, the New York court declared that a government memo dated July about the change in the census count violated a federal law that required the president to give Congress “a statement showing the total number of people in each state. And judges in Maryland and California later issued similar rulings.
But now the panel of judges in the nation’s capital felt it was too early for either court to make a decision, and so they dismissed the lawsuit.
“Judicial intervention at this time would inappropriately interfere with ongoing activities within the Executive Branch,” wrote Justices Gregory Katsas and Dabney Friedrich.
However, due to the incidence of the pandemic, the Census Bureau is behind schedule in delivering the final figures, and internal sources have already said that the data could not be delivered until January 26, that is, days after Trump leaves the White House, dealing a severe blow to the Government’s attempt to exclude the undocumented.
In 2019, the Trump administration lost a legal battle on this issue when it tried to have the census questionnaire include a question about the citizenship of residents in the country. The fight ended with a Supreme Court decision unfavourable to the president.