The Slatest

Trump Expected to Defy Supreme Court and Announce Executive Action on Census Citizenship Question

President Trump shakes hands with Supreme Court justices at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 5, 2019.
President Trump shakes hands with Supreme Court justices at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 5, 2019.
MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images

President Trump is expected to announce an executive action Thursday afternoon to add the controversial citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 census. The Trump administration’s attempt to add a question about whether census respondents are American citizens or not has sparked controversy because of fears it could have a chilling effect on participation, which would have substantial impact on federal resource allocation, as well as the electoral map. Opponents had filed suit against the question’s inclusion and the Supreme Court ruled that Commerce Department, which administers the census, had not provided sufficient justification to include a citizenship question, calling the administration’s rationale for the change “contrived.”

Following the ruling, after some hesitation, the Commerce Department began printing the census questionnaires without the question. Last week, however, Trump hinted that the fight over the census might not yet be over and that he might try to have the question added later as an addendum. “We’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “We could start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision. So we’re working on a lot of things, including an executive order.”