This may affect the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives and votes in the Electoral College.
The US Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments put forward by President Donald Trump, who seeks to exclude illegal immigrants from the total population, based on which electoral districts are distributed among States.
The hearing is being held via teleconference; today’s session lasted 80 minutes. Currently, 6 of the 9 seats on the court are held by conservatives, three of whom Trump appointed. The case is scheduled to be considered in an expedited manner so that the judges will have time to decide before the end of the year. If the court upholds Trump’s initiative, it will be difficult for President-elect Joe Biden to reverse it after taking office.
The President’s Directive is being challenged by several states, cities, counties, and immigrant rights organizations. They insist that millions of residents will remain unaccounted for if the plan is implemented, resulting in states such as California, Texas, and New Jersey losing seats in the House of Representatives.
Electoral districts are determined based on the state population based on the results of the census, which is held every 10 years.
An estimated 11 million illegal immigrants live in the United States. Until now, the census counted all residents, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The US Constitution requires that seats in the house be allocated based on the total number of residents in each state.
The plaintiffs believe that the President’s initiative violates the Constitution and the census Law. The President’s lawyers insist that he acted within his authority.
The number of seats in the House of Representatives in each state also determines the number of votes in the Electoral College, determining the winner of the presidential election.
The results of the census also affect the distribution of Federal funding among States.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled by five votes to four against including the question of citizenship in the census. Critics felt that the issue was intended to discourage immigrants from participating in the census and artificially lower the population in sympathetic areas to the Democrats.
Then the position of the liberal judges was supported by chief justice John Roberts. However, the recent appointment of another conservative judge, Amy Coney-Barrett, has changed the dynamic on the court.