Republican Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision on a controversial census citizenship question, advising him to print the survey with the question regardless of the court’s ruling.
“It’s the lawyers advising him,” Roy tweeted, evidently referring to the Supreme Court Justices. “[Trump] should ignore them. Completely. Print the Census with the questions — and issue a statement explaining why — ‘because we should.’ Done.”
Roy, a freshman conservative lawmaker whose most famous exploit up until now has been blocking a $19 billion disaster aid package, has been a consistent supporter both of the citizenship question and of Trump’s border wall. He doubled down on his stance later Tuesday night after he was accused by Twitter users of being “lawless.”
“Lawless is the state of our border. Lawless is being ruled by Judges on matters of policy choices,” he wrote. “Lawless is NOT rightly advising the President to follow the Constitution and include a citizenship question on the census — particularly in light of the opinion.”
Last week, the Supreme Court blocked the administration from asking respondents on the 2020 national survey whether they were U.S. citizens, saying the government had not adequately explained its reasoning for adding such a question.
Trump complained about the Court’s decision was “totally ridiculous.”
“Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed our Country cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census,” the president tweeted following that decision.
Trump said that he was looking to delay the census printing — which adheres to a rigid timetable — until it could give the court “additional information.” In other words, until he could attempt another approach into getting the Supreme Court to accept the decision. As late as Monday afternoon, the administration had reportedly asked a federal judge in Maryland for more time to decide how to proceed.
On Tuesday night, however, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the administration would not be asking the citizenship question and had begun printing the survey without it.
“I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census,” Ross said. “The Census bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.”
It’s still an open question as to whether or not the Trump administration will actually follow the Supreme Court’s ruling, since it has no real means of enforcing its rulings other than a long-standing norm — which, as we know from Trump’s continuous ethical violations, this administration is not particularly fond of. This is a point made by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist papers.
“The judiciary… has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever,” Hamilton wrote. “It must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.”
The census question has been a long-running aim of the Trump administration. As early as January 2017, a draft executive order was directed to the Census Bureau to “include questions to determine U.S. citizenship and immigration status on the long-form questionnaire in the decennial census.”