LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to rule on the Trump administration’s impending attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census count used to allocate seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The court dismissed the case in an unsigned opinion, stating that it was too early for the nine justices to decide the merits of the case.

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court dismissal of the case:

“Today, a majority of the Supreme Court perpetuated the damaging chaos that characterizes the outgoing Trump administration in its approach to well-established democratic principle under the United States Constitution.  In the face of an unequivocal, public, and written declaration by Donald Trump that he would violate federal statute and the Constitution by seeking to subtract some portion of the resident undocumented population from the Census 2020 count for congressional reapportionment, the Court majority held that the legal challenges to this imminent violation are not yet ripe for federal court decision.

“Yet, as curious as the majority decision may be, the illegality of Trump’s stated intention is patently obvious.  One outcome of the Civil War was a constitutional amendment eliminating the abominable three-fifths rule from our original Constitution; ever since the Fourteenth Amendment, our Constitution has treated every person as equal in the apportionment count, regardless of the rights held or denied to any class of persons.  Moreover, as noted by the Court today, there are serious questions about how much of the undocumented population can be ascertained by ‘actual enumeration,’ as the Constitution requires, as opposed to unconstitutional conjecture or estimation.  Finally, if only a fraction of the undocumented population can be verified, as is plainly the case, subtracting any persons would be unconstitutional because a fractional count is not an ‘actual enumeration.’

“A sensible executive would abandon his plans in light of clear constitutional mandate.  Unfortunately, Donald Trump regularly ignores the Constitution when it inconveniently undermines his personal interests and predilections.  Trump’s intended actions on apportionment are as much a threat to American democracy as his ongoing and deranged refusal to concede his massive election loss in both popular vote and electoral college.  Today, the Supreme Court majority eschewed an opportunity to shore up democracy in response to Trump’s ongoing chaotic attempts to undermine it.

“Today, our nation needed a resolute Court, and we didn’t get that.”