The Supreme Court refused Friday to delay an upcoming trial in which several states and civil rights organizations claim that there was an inappropriate political motivation in the decision of Trade Minister Wilbur Ross to add a citizenship issue to the 2020 Census.
The trial is set to begin on Monday in New York.
Judges Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have granted the Trump's request to delay the trial. It is not clear how the other six – including the new Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh – have voted – because judges are not obliged to publish their votes in such proceedings. But at least five out of six did not want to block the trial.
Later on Friday night, the judges refused a request from the Trump government to stop a new trial filed by young Americans trying to force the federal government to take action on climate change. Thomas and Gorshud would have accepted the request, but the court said the government should first file its appeal with a lower court.
In the case of the Department of Commerce, the administration was in the Supreme Court several times in an attempt to keep the challengers challenging Ross and other officials of the administration about their motives to add the question. The lawyers of the Department of Justice finally asked the court to delay the proceedings.
The doubters on the issue of citizenship have called for the court to refuse to do so.
"DOJ has tried every trick in the book (and then some) to block the case – and failed every time," Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for New York-based Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D), said in a statement. "You really have to wonder what they are trying to hide."
Democratic legislators and immigrant groups have condemned the idea of adding the issue of citizenship. They claim that it will make immigrants and their families less likely to fill in the form, leading to a more expensive and less expensive inventory.
Six former inventory directors and a Census Bureau internal analyst have also said that the question would hurt the count. This, in turn, could cost countries with a large immigrant population in Congress and federal funds distributed by population.
The question was put in the past, but it has been decades since it was part of the regular interdisciplinary inventory. The administration has stated that any challenge to the action of the Department of Commerce should be based on the administrative record and not the control of top government officials who have decided to add.
Advocate General Noel J. Francisco told court that Ross had explained his actions and said it was unfair for the courts to allow "an interventionist fishing mission involving senior government officials, including a cabinet secretary."
In an incoherent opinion on October 22, the Supreme Court suspended Ross's objection, which was mandated by the lower federal courts in New York. However, he said that another discovery could proceed, including the deployment of a senior Justice Ministry official.
There are six legal challenges for including a question on the nationality of the respondent descendant.
The states and organizations that brought the lawsuits say that we are looking at the intentions of the officials is vital. Mr Ross "offered shifts and inaccurate explanations in the decision-making note and testimony before the Congress," as well as in new documents filed in the case, said a brief statement by the New York City Migration Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and others.
Mr Ross initially said he added the issue of nationality under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, which he said was necessary to help enforce the voting rights.
However, emails showed that they had pressed for incorporating the issue of citizenship earlier than this, and the groups and states argue that the request of the Ministry of Justice was a pretext.
In a document submitted in response to questions from Underwood, Ross acknowledged that he had discussed the matter with former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon and a Republican secretary of state who was the leader in anti-immigration efforts.
In the paper, Ross said he reminded him that Bannon called him in the spring of 2017 to ask if Ross would talk to Kansas Foreign Minister Kris Kobach about ideas about a possible citizenship question about the census.
This seems to contradict Ross's testimony to Congress this year. When asked at a hearing on March 20 by Mr. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) If the chairman or someone from the White House had discussed the issue of citizenship with him, Ross said, "I do not know it."
The trial is scheduled to begin next week before UK District Judge Jesse Furman in New York. He has denied Trump's proposals for delay and has been supported by US Court of Appeal teams for the 2nd Circuit.
Asking the Supreme Court to delay, Francisco said "the most effective way forward is to stay the trial and resolve the issue if the regional court should limit the review of the Secretary's decision to the administrative records, leaving enough time for the district court to conduct the review, followed by a swift appeal. "
Otherwise, Frank said, a full trial would be held that would include "if the secretary included a secret racial animus to restore a citizenship issue to the ten-year census."
If the judge made such a finding, Francisco said, "that the damage would not be fully (or heavily) cured if [the Supreme Court] then limited the review of the regional court to the administrative archives. "
Tara Bahrampour contributed to this report.