WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday said it will seek immediate Supreme Court review in a bid to implement its contentious plan to ask people taking part in the 2020 national census whether they are U.S. citizens after a judge blocked it.
The Justice Department said in a court filing in a related case currently before the justices that it would like the Supreme Court to rule on the census matter by the end of the court's current term in June.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan ruled on Jan. 15 that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, concealed the true motives for his "arbitrary and capricious" decision to add the question in violation of federal law.
By seeking high court review before giving a lower appeals court time to consider the case, the administration put its faith in the conservative-majority high court to hear and decide the matter in the coming months, as time is running out before the census forms must be printed in June.
Opponents have accused the Trump administration of devising a citizenship question to use the census to pursue the political objectives of Trump's fellow Republicans by engineering an undercount of the true population and reducing the electoral representation of Democratic-leaning communities in Congress.
The 18 states, 15 cities and various civil rights groups that filed a legal challenge against the administration said a citizenship question would frighten immigrants and Latinos into abstaining from the count. Non-citizens are estimated to represent about 7 percent of people living in the United States.