Jus­tices to weigh cen­sus ex­clu­sion

San Francisco Chronicle - - NATION - By Mark Sher­man and Jes­sica Gresko Mark Sher­man and Jes­sica Gresko are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

WASH­ING­TON — The Supreme Court agreed Fri­day to take up Pres­i­dent Trump’s pol­icy, blocked by a lower court, to ex­clude peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. il­le­gally from the cen­sus count that will be used to al­lo­cate seats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Never in U.S. his­tory have im­mi­grants been ex­cluded from the pop­u­la­tion count that de­ter­mines how House seats, and by ex­ten­sion Elec­toral Col­lege votes, are di­vided among the states, a three­judge fed­eral count said in Septem­ber when it held Trump’s pol­icy il­le­gal.

The jus­tices put the case on a fast track, set­ting ar­gu­ments for Nov. 30. A de­ci­sion is ex­pected by the end of the year or early in Jan­uary, when Trump has to re­port cen­sus num­bers to the House.

Trump’s high court nom­i­nee, Amy Coney Bar­rett, could take part in the case if, as seems likely, she is con­firmed by then.

Last year, the court by a 54 vote barred Trump from adding a cen­sus ques­tion ask­ing peo­ple about their cit­i­zen­ship. Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg, who died last month, was part of that ma­jor­ity. Bar­rett would take Gins­burg’s seat.

The out­come of the case could af­fect the dis­tri­bu­tion of po­lit­i­cal power for the next 10 years. The cen­sus also helps de­ter­mine the dis­tri­bu­tion of $1.5 tril­lion in fed­eral fund­ing an­nu­ally.

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