Unlike the other branches of government, the Supreme Court is highly secretive and justices and their staff rarely disclose what they talk about behind closed doors. Chief Justice Roberts Switched Sides During Census Deliberations: Report.
But sometimes losing a political battle can result in winning a constitutional war. Trump's immediate reaction was disbelief. He is wearing the heavy mantle of a vote at the middle of a divided bench in this new chapter of his tenure, with the 2018 retirement of centrist-conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy and a solid 5-4 conservative majority.
On Wednesday night, he let drastic limits on Central Americans seeking asylum at the southern border. Yet the long-term significance of the case, Department of Commerce v. New York, lies elsewhere, in what it portends across the expanse of the federal government. Sverdlov, the government attorney, said that line of argument is "far outside the scope of this case" and said the judge does not have the authority to review Ross' decision or the Census Bureau's plans. While those agencies shrink, Congress may have to staff up in order to pass more laws. Alex Wong/Getty Images.
They worried that, as James Madison wrote in “Federalist No. In proposing to add the citizenship question to the full census, Ross insisted that it was needed because the Justice Department needed citizenship data to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act. So, if the Trump Administration argues it wants the citizenship question to give states who desire it the necessary data to redistrict based on eligible voters rather than residents, it will have been given Roberts a justification to approve the citizenship question. Roberts declined to comment on this report. The political nature of the case and that divide between justices generated exactly the kind of criticism -- that justices are merely politicians in black robes -- that Roberts spent much of the 2018-2019 session trying to thwart. Roberts' decision, in theory, allowed Ross to try a new justification that would support asking people their citizenship status, and for two weeks after the ruling the administration considered ways to follow through on the 2020 plan. On the whole, the 64-year-old Roberts has given the Trump administration great leeway. "I do not deny that a judge predisposed to distrust the Secretary or the administration could arrange those facts on a corkboard and -- with a jar of pins and a spool of string -- create an eye-catching conspiracy web."
Tellingly, Alito, who concurred with the four liberals and provided a fifth vote to uphold the law, nevertheless appended a one-page statement: “If a majority of this Court were willing to reconsider the approach we have taken [to nondelegation] for the past 84 years, I would support that effort.” That makes five votes to begin restoring the Constitution’s separation of powers and prevent Congress from handing off hard decisions—and the authority to make them—to the agencies.
Circuit Court of Appeals authorized a federal judge in Maryland to explore allegations that the government added the question to explore evidence that the administration’s motives were partisan or discriminatory. But the decision-writing process is fluid. The four other conservative justices, dissenting on this part of the ruling, believed Furman had wrongly probed Ross' rationale.
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