The court ruled Thursday that the President’s July order violates the federal laws that set out how congressional seats are apportioned, and granted a permanent injunction blocking the rule. The court did not decide if the President’s memorandum violates the Constitution.
“We declare the Presidential Memorandum to be an unlawful exercise of the authority granted to the President by statute,” the three-judge panel unanimously ruled.
In the wake of that effort, Trump directed the Census Bureau to collect data on citizenship status from other government agencies. His July order instructed the government to meld that data with 2020 census records.
The apportionment challenge was filed by nearly two dozen states, multiple cities and counties, and multiple groups representing minority groups or advocating for a successful census count.
At a court hearing earlier this month, the government argued that the order was within its rights to determine how to make the apportionment tally. But the groups suing the government argued that their communities would lose political power and government funding because of the order.
“This is a huge victory for voting rights and for immigrants’ rights,” said Dale Ho, an attorney for nongovernmental groups in the lawsuit. “President Trump has tried and failed yet again to weaponize the census against immigrant communities. The law is clear — every person counts in the census.”
“The Trump administration has been nakedly partisan and dishonest about their administration of the Census,” he said.