The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the Trump administration’s request to speed up the appeal of a lower court ruling that is blocking the president’s attempt to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census numbers used to reallocate seats in Congress.
The move sets up an expedited legal fight that includes a hearing before the high court on Nov. 30, a month before federal law says the latest state population counts for reapportioning the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the states are due to the president. The timing increases the potential for Trump to try to make the unprecedented change to who is included in the numbers while he is in the White House.
In understanding what’s going on here and the Trump Administration’s chances it is important to understand the procedural posture of this case. This is a case coming up on mandatory appellate jurisdiction from a three-judge court. It is not like a regular cert petition where the Court has complete discretion about whether to take the case.
I had thought that this case was so clear-cut against the Trump Administration that the Court might have just summarily affirmed. At least one Justice likely objected to that and the case was set for argument. But given the strong textual argument in the constitution to count all “persons,” the Trump Administration still has a tough road ahead.