Another federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
In a blistering 119-page opinion, Judge George Hazel of the US District Court for the District of Maryland said that “every scientific analysis” in the record “confirms that the addition of the citizenship question will result in less accurate and less complete citizenship” data.
Hazel also said the addition was “arbitrary and capricious” in violation of federal law and that it violated the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Hazel wrote, also “ignored evidence regarding the impact of the question and provided no legitimate rationale to support it.” Hazel said the addition of the question would “unreasonably compromise the distributive accuracy of the census” in violation of the Constitution.
Hazel is the third judge rule to block the citizenship question. In January, a federal judge in New York said that the proposal was “unlawful,” writing that “(Ross’s) decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census – even if it did not violate the Constitution itself – was unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons and must be set aside.”
In March, a judge in the Northern District of California made a similar ruling, writing that the evidence shows the question “quite effective at depressing self-response rates among immigrants and noncitizens, and poses a significant risk of distorting the apportionment of congressional representation among the states.”
The administration appealed previous rulings to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear arguments on the issue on April 23.