The Trump administration said Tuesday it will ask the Supreme Court to speed an appeal of a lower court’s ruling that erased a citizenship question from the 2020 census.
Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco said the matter needs a fast resolution by the justices and can’t wait for the normal course of appeals, which would involve a hearing and decision by a circuit court, to play out.
“The government intends to file forthwith a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment, with a proposal for expedited briefing to allow for oral argument and decision this term,” Mr. Francisco wrote.
Most legal analysts believed the court had already set the final cases it would hear this term after a new list was issued earlier Tuesday.
But the citizenship question could upend those plans.
A federal district judge earlier this month ruled Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross broke procedural laws when he added a question regarding citizenship to the next census in 2020.
That judge, an Obama appointee, said Mr. Ross disregarded the advice of experts who said asking about citizenship would scare perhaps 5 percent of people away from responding to the census, thus skewing the count. The judge said that ran afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act.
The Justice Department says that ruling trampled on Mr. Ross’s powers, granted by Congress, to set the contours of the census.
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