President Donald Trump is considering if he should use an executive order to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census, according to a report released Thursday.
Lawyers for the Trump administration are currently in talks discussing if a proposed executive order would meet “a constitutional need,” according to a report from Axios.
“The administration is considering the appropriateness of an executive order that would address the constitutional need for the citizenship question to be included in the 2020 census,” a senior legal source in the administration told Axios.
The Supreme Court held by a 5-4 vote on June 27 that asking the citizenship question is authorized both by the Constitution and by federal law.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion, with the four liberal justices dissenting.
However, Roberts then switched sides to join the liberal justices to create a 5-4 on a third issue, sending the case back to the lower court for further proceedings to determine if the Trump administration had a hidden political motive for asking the citizenship question.
While the case was theoretically a win for the Trump administration, these new court proceedings would push the lawsuit well past the deadline for starting the printing of census forms, likely making it impossible to include the question on the 2020 census.
But the court, while saying that adding the question “was a distraction,” gave the Trump administration another chance to bring the issue to the court if it had a better explanation for why the question was necessary.
Trump tweeted Thursday morning that the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce “are working very hard” to put the citizenship question on the 2020 census:
So important for our Country that the very simple and basic “Are you a Citizen of the United States?” question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census. Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2019
The Justice Department also confirmed it would try to find a way to get the question on the census even though the government has already begun the process of creating it.
Despite some uncertainty among officials within the administration about the success of the citizenship question, one former federal judge said it could be possible.
“If the president of the United States were to issue an executive order, supported by his full Article II powers, directing that the citizenship question be included in the 2020 census, I believe the Supreme Court would affirm the constitutional power of the president to include the citizenship question in the census,” former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig told Axios.
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