In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to block — for now — the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census questionnaire, the governor urged Californians to participate in the census next year — no matter the final ruling.
During a press conference held Thursday morning, California Governor Gavin Newsom stressed the damage a citizenship question could have on the state of California. Nearly 1.6 million people could be undercounted if the question appears on the census form, Newsom said.
“California won’t shrink from this fight,” Newsom said. “We are proud of our diversity and our immigrant communities, and we will continue to deploy every tool at our disposal to defend our residents and our democracy.”
The Supreme Court on Thursday sent back to a lower court the case on whether a citizenship question should be added to the 2020 Census questionnaire.
Chief Justice John Roberts said the explanation from the Trump administration for adding the question was inadequate, The New York Times reports.
“The reasoned explanation requirement of administrative law, after all, is meant to ensure that agencies offer genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public,” Roberts wrote. “Accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. 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.”
Although the question is barred for now, it’s possible the administration could offer adequate justifications for the addition of the citizenship question; however, time is running out. The Census Bureau previously said it needed a final ruling by June, NPR reports, in order for the printing of paper forms for the census to begin as scheduled.
“This has been delayed, but the Trump administration has not been denied the fear and anxiety he has caused and induced,” Newsom said.
“Regardless of the decision, we were not waiting passively,” he said. “We have not been waiting for the Trump administration or, respectfully, the Supreme Court to do justice. The damage has been done, regardless of the decision today.”
Newsom said the state is investing $187 million into census efforts to ensure California is accurately counted.
“No other state in America comes close to the investment California is making,” Newsom said.
The population count will determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets and where an estimated $880 billion a year in federal funding will be disbursed for schools, roads and other public services.
“An undercount will have negative consequences for the state of California,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla at Thursday’s press conference. “And it will be felt throughout the next decade.”
Newsom encouraged people to do their part in ensuring an accurate count by filling out the census form fully.
“If you don’t participate int he Census, Trump wins,” Newsom said. “It’s as clear as that. We are encouraging our diverse community to participate, and we are going to make sure we run an unprecedented campaign to touch every corner of this state.”
South Kern Sol is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, youth reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.