President Donald Trump argued that “strained” Supreme Court decisions, including one regarding adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, show the importance of making more appointments to the high bench.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday, “Recent ‘strained’ decisions by the United States Supreme Court, some so simple as allowing the question, ‘Are you a citizen of the United States’ on our very expensive Census Report, or the even more strained decisions (2) allowing the world’s most expensive & pathetic healthcare (Obamacare) to stay in place, when it would have been replaced by something far better, shows how incredibly important our upcoming 2020 Election is.”
“I have long heard that the appointment of Supreme Court Justices is a President’s most important decision. SO TRUE!” he added.
Recent “strained” decisions by the United States Supreme Court, some so simple as allowing the question, “Are you a citizen of the United States” on our very expensive Census Report, or the even more strained decisions (2) allowing the world’s most expensive & pathetic……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2019
The president also tweeted a quote from Attorney General William Barr, who said on Monday, “I agree with the President, the Supreme Court got it wrong. There should be a question about Citizenship on the Census.”
Trump wrote in response: “Working hard on something that should be so easy. People are fed up!”
“I agree with the President, the Supreme Court got it wrong. There should be a question about Citizenship on the Census. A.G. Barr sees a pathway to add the Citizenship Question.” Steve Doocy @foxandfriends Working hard on something that should be so easy. People are fed up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2019
Late last month, the high court ruled (5-4) Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had not provided an adequate rationale why a person’s citizenship status should be included in the census.
“The reasoned explanation requirement of administrative law, after all, is meant to ensure that agencies offer genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, which the court’s four liberal justices joined.
“Accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case.”
The justices remanded the case back to federal district court, which gives the Trump administration another chance to make its argument about why the question was added.
Barr told the Associated Press that he has been in consultation with Trump concerning the matter and agrees with him that the Supreme Court got the decision wrong.
The attorney general added he believes there is “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem, and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”
In relation to health care, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on Tuesday on whether the Affordable Care Act should be struck down, in light of Congress’ vote in 2017 to remove the individual mandate.
Roberts wrote the 2012 majority opinion upholding the constitutionality of the law, once again siding with the liberal justices on the Supreme Court. The chief justice based his argument on Congress’ power to tax, writing that the penalty the act imposed for failure to purchase federal government-approved health care insurance amounted to a tax.
After Congress removed the penalty in 2017, Republican officials in 18 states filed a lawsuit re-challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, according to the AP. A federal district judge in Texas ruled in favor of the suit in December, finding that the law no longer passed constitutional muster.
Regardless of ruling the 5th Circuit may reach, the case is expected to once again reach the Supreme Court.
To date, Trump has made two appointments to the high court: justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
In April, reports surfaced that the president would like to replace the court’s oldest member — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 86 — with 7th U.S. Circuit Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 47.
Ginsburg, appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, appears to have no intention of stepping down from the bench while Trump is in office.
She underwent lung cancer surgery in December and returned to the court in late February with a reported clean bill of health.
Ginsburg previously survived colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.
Last summer, the justice hinted at a timeline for her retirement. “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years,” she said during an interview.
If Ginsburg left the court at 90, that would fall during a potential second term for Trump.
The next oldest Supreme Court member is Clinton appointee Justice Stephen Breyer, who is 80.
Justice Clarence Thomas, 71, is the longest-serving member, appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991.
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