Supreme Court blocks citizenship question on 2020 census for now

Image 1 of 2

The Supreme Court is forbidding President Donald Trump's administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census for now. The court said the Trump administration's explanation for wanting to add the question was "more of a distraction" than an explanation.

It's unclear whether the administration would have time to provide a fuller account. Census forms are supposed to be printed beginning next week.

The court ruled 5-4 on Thursday, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the four liberals in the relevant part of the outcome.

A lower court found the administration violated federal law in the way it tried to add a question broadly asking about citizenship for the first time since 1950.

The Census Bureau's own experts have predicted that millions of Hispanics and immigrants would go uncounted if the census asked everyone if he or she is an American citizen.

Democrats rejoiced at the news.

“The Supreme Court did their job today – but the fight continues. Every person counts," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. "If Californians do not participate in next year’s census, the Trump Administration wins. From the President’s threats of mass deportation, to the crisis he manufactured at the border, the Trump Administration has exploited the federal government to instill fear within immigrant communities. The President wants immigrants to fear being seen. He is desperately trying to stop immigrants from participating in our democracy and American society."
He said that California is "meeting this unprecedented census challenge with an unprecedented investment" of $187 million  in outreach efforts to ensure an accurate and fair count. 

Closer to the Bay Area, the issue also prompted a statement from the Alameda County Office of Education. 

"At this time, the Supreme Court’s decision not to include the citizenship question on the 2020 Census is a significant and positive development for Alameda County communities," County Supt. Karen Monroe said in a statement.

"The Census impacts federal funding for essential educational programs such as Title I aid for disadvantaged students, special education grants, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Head Start and aid for homeless students. Getting an accurate and comprehensive count is critical to determining this funding."

KTVU contributed to this report.