President Donald Trump’s threat to delay the census following a Supreme Court ruling that could impact who controls Congress has Democrats wondering how to respond, a Democratic aide told CNN.
The court on Thursday blocked the administration from putting a question on the 2020 census asking about citizenship for the time being. Critics argued in court that the question is an attempt to intimidate noncitizens and Hispanic households and will lead to a decline in response rates and underrepresentation of minorities, who typically vote Democratic.
“I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter,” he said in a pair of tweets at 2:30 a.m. local time while in Osaka, Japan.
“Can anyone really believe that as a great Country, we are not able the ask whether or not someone is a Citizen,” Trump wrote. “Only in America!”
On Capitol Hill, Democratic committees held a coordination call late Thursday afternoon, according to the aide, after Trump weighed in on the census decision for the first time.
In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that there was sufficient reason for concern about why the Commerce Department wanted to add the question.
“If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case,” Roberts wrote.
However, the court left open the possibility the citizenship question may still end up on the census forms, meaning timing is of the essence.
The administration previously told the court that the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June and could not be delayed.
In court briefs, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said he wanted to put that official’s testimony in perspective and reiterate that October “would only be feasible ” with exceptional resources.
The 2020 census gathers data to inform the allocation of congressional seats and the distribution of billions of federal dollars to states and localities over the next decade.
This story is breaking and will be updated.