The Supreme Court sounded skeptical Monday that President Donald Trump could categorically exclude people living in the country illegally from the population count used to allot seats among the states in the House of Representatives
But it also appeared possible that the justices could avoid a final ruling on the issue until they know how broadly the Trump administration acts in its final days in office and whether the division of House seats is affected.
No president has tried to do what Trump outlined in a memo in July — remove millions of noncitizens from the once-a-decade head count of the U.S. population that determines how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives, as well as the allocation of some federal funding.
The court, meeting by telephone because of the coronavirus pandemic, heard arguments in its second case in two years related to the 2020 census and immigrants.
The census already is facing novel questions over deadlines, data quality and politics, including whether the incoming Biden administration would do anything to try to reverse decisions made under Trump.