Victory! Supreme Court Throws Out Census Suit

Press Releases

December 18, 2020

Allows Trump administration to exclude illegal aliens from apportionment count

WASHINGTON—Today, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed a lower court’s judgment against the Trump administration’s plan to exclude illegal aliens from the apportionment count of the census. As a result, the administration will continue enacting that plan. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court in support of the administration.

By law, the President is required to apportion seats in the House of Representatives among the states based on census figures, an apportionment that in turn determines how many electoral votes states receive. If illegal aliens were included in the number that the President used for apportionment, states such as New York, California, and Texas would have more representatives and electoral votes, and states such as Ohio, Indiana, and Alabama would have fewer, than they would if illegal aliens were not included.

In its brief, IRLI made the crucial, uncontestable point that when a person—whether a voter or a non-voter, such as a child—is counted in the census for apportionment, that person receives representation in our national government, including the House of Representatives. IRLI went on to argue that 1) only members of the American people, that is, our national political community, should be given representation in our national government, and 2) illegal aliens, as the Supreme Court and other federal courts have held, are neither part of the American people nor members of our national political community. It follows by simple logic that they should not be counted for apportionment purposes.

The Court did not have to reach such arguments, however, and did not do so today. Instead, it found that the plaintiff states, led by New York, did not even have standing to be in court in the first place, and accordingly dismissed their case.

“It is crystal clear that our national government should represent the American people, and no one else,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “And court after court has held that illegal aliens are not part of the American people. They therefore should not be represented by our elected officials in Washington, as they would be if included in the apportionment count. We applaud the President for having the clarity of vision to see this, and the forthrightness to act on it. And we are glad that today the Supreme Court tossed out this lawsuit meant to block him.”

The case is Trump v. New York, No. 20-366 (Supreme Court).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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