NPR

Can Trump Change A Key Census Count? Supreme Court Hears His Claim

The Constitution says that for reallocating House seats, the census must count the "whole number of persons" in each state. But Trump wants to subtract undocumented immigrants.

Even as the Trump administration is heading out the door, President Trump is trying to exclude undocumented immigrants from the decennial census. If he succeeds, it will be the first time unauthorized immigrants will not be counted for purposes of drawing new congressional districts.

Three lower courts have ruled unanimously that the president's action violates either the Constitution, the federal census statute, or both. On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in one of those cases — from New York.

The start of the U.S. census

The United States was the first country to put a mandatory national population count into its Constitution. The plan was to count every person living in the newly created United States of America, and to use that count to allocate how many votes each state would get in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College.

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