Supreme Court Hears Census Case | Reactions To SCOTUS Decision In NY COVID-19 Dispute
November 30, 2020
YOU CAN COUNT ON ME|
Today the Supreme Court heard virtual arguments over the president’s effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in Census totals when seats in Congress are determined next year. SCOTUS previously blocked Trump’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the Census questionnaire, and if he succeeds in this case, it could be the first time ever that the U.S. excludes undocumented immigrants from the count. This would also mean that money and political power would shift away from states with large immigrant populations that typically vote blue.
Adam Liptak with The New York Times covers the Census case before justices today and notes, “The case is riddled with practical complications. Census Bureau officials have said they cannot produce the required data until after Mr. Trump leaves office in January. Even if they do, it is not clear that congressional officials would accept what they may view as flawed calculations, and PRESIDENT-ELECT JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. may try to reverse course once he takes office, prompting further litigation. The core question in the case — who counts for purposes of congressional reapportionment — is fundamental and largely untested.”
A SERIOUS SHIFT|
Last week, the Supreme Court split 5-4 to side with religious organizations in a dispute over COVID-19 restrictions GOVERNOR CUOMO of New York put in place on attendance caps for religious services. It’s the first coronavirus-related case to show the impact of the high court’s new conservative majority that now includes JUSTICE AMY CONEY BARRETT. She sided with her conservative colleagues in the dispute while CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS joined the liberal justices in dissent. Twice this year SCOTUS had ruled against houses of worship, deferring to local public health officials on their COVID-19 restrictions. But this time they sided with the houses of worship that argued the public health restrictions violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment because the churches were treated more harshly than secular businesses.
HAVING NONE OF IT|
Raul A. Reyes with NBC News also reported on the Supreme Court’s action last week in which it blocked New York’s restrictions on religious services and Reyes notes of the conservative majority’s decision that JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR “was not having it.” In her dissent — which was joined by JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN — Sotomayor wrote, “Justices of this Court play a deadly game in second guessing the expert judgment of health officials about the environments in which a contagious virus, now infecting a million Americans each week, spreads most easily.”
Joan Biskupic with CNN also notes that the Supreme Court’s decision in the COVID-19 case “exposed personal fissures among the nine justices.” She explains PRESIDENT TRUMP’S appointees played leading roles in the court’s decision, with JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH penning “an especially caustic opinion deriding CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS and the three liberal dissenters for their arguments.” JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH wrote a concurrence that suggested “the dissenters’ stance could amount to ‘whosesale judicial abdication.'”