Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

A democracy designed for a diverse country faces its latest test

Supreme Court census protest

The Supreme Court will hear a census case Monday.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Smith is the vice president for litigation and strategy at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit focused on bolstering voting rights and curbing money's influence on politics.


President Trump's crusade to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count is being put through one final test.

At a key inflection point that may offer a window into how the Supreme Court will evaluate politically charged cases after the arrival of its newest member, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the court will hear the census case on Monday. It's extremely late in the game, as federal law requires the latest population counts for the allocation of congressional seats to be finalized by the end of December.

Chief Justice John Roberts knows how our continued faith in the Supreme Court depends on a collective belief that the court remains above the fray, not just another forum for partisan dispute. This case will be a test of that faith, because the president's order excluding undocumented immigrants from the census was both glaringly illegal and undertaken solely for political benefit.

The chief justice already ruled against the president once in a census case, last year, when Trump tried to add a citizenship question to the census. This time around, the question is similar: Can the president unilaterally exclude undocumented immigrants from state population counts that will be used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives?

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Starting with the first census in 1790, the counts used for this apportionment function have always included all residents of the United States — citizens and non-citizens, regardless of immigration status. That is what the plain language of the Constitution calls for. There is no reason to change course now.

In addition to congressional apportionment, the case could have a direct impact on the outcome of future presidential elections. Since a state's number of Electoral College votes are determined in part by its seats in the House, excluding undocumented immigrants could reduce the voting power of Latinx communities — and other communities of color — in selecting presidents.

The president, however, has politicized the census in an unprecedented attempt to further marginalize communities that have struggled for political representation in the past.

On July 21, Trump announced that, "for the purpose of the reapportionment" after the census," the administration will "exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status." To implement this policy, the president directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose department includes the Census Bureau, to produce a second set of population data, separate from the results of the 2020 census, that would exclude undocumented immigrants.

The move is not only illegal but also extremely harmful. By law, the census must draw from the total population to ensure that the federal government is responsive and accountable to all people. This is to ensure it reflects population shifts in our diversifying country. The 14th Amendment requires that "representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State."

In the decision that is on appeal in this case, a federal district court in New York noted that federal law prohibits the president from relying on a second set of data, separate from the census, to reapportion Congress. A federal district court in California agreed, ruling Trump's attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base violated the 14th Amendment.

Trump's plan not only ignores the Constitution, it also threatens to undercut central principles of our democracy. Elected officials do not simply represent the interests of those who voted for them. They represent all people in their districts. This includes children, noncitizens and individuals denied the right to vote due to state law. If left unchecked, the outgoing president's plan will unlawfully alter the composition of government and bend it towards his will.

This is a major test for the Supreme Court. It will be scrutinized to see whether it will stop the president's move to freeze out Americans by telling them they don't count.

Read More

Wegovy box
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

How Congress can quickly make Ozempic, Wegovy affordable

Pearl, the author of “ChatGPT, MD,” teaches at both the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a former CEO of The Permanente Medical Group.

A whopping one in eight U.S. adults have taken GLP-1 drugs like Wegovy and Ozempic for weight loss and related conditions. Their popularity and efficacy have sparked a prescription-writing frenzy in recent years, leaving both medications on the Food and Drug Administration's drug shortage list since May 2023.

Keep ReadingShow less
Man climbing a set of exterior steps

The author, Miliyon Ethiopis, following a court’s decision to grant his asylum request on June 18.

U.S. immigration court ruling on statelessness could have wide impact

Ethiopis is a co-founder of United Stateless, a national organization led by stateless people.

I feel like I have been born again, after a U.S. immigration court made a remarkable ruling in my “statelessness” case in June. I hope that my case will have significant, broader implications for other stateless people in America.

Being stateless means no country will claim you as a citizen. We don't belong anywhere. Stateless people are military veterans. We are Harvard graduates. We are Holocaust survivors. There are millions of stateless people around the world, and 200,000 such people in the United States.

Keep ReadingShow less
Bar graph of shopping carts
Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

Have prices increased 40 percent to 50 percent since Trump left office?

This fact brief was originally published by Wisconsin Watch. Read the original here. Fact briefs are published by newsrooms in the Gigafact network, and republished by The Fulcrum. Visit Gigafact to learn more.

Have prices increased 40 percent to 50 percent since Trump left office?

No.

Cumulative inflation since former President Donald Trump left office in January 2021 through May 2024 was 20.1 percent according to data from the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U.

Trump told a crowd on June 18 in Racine, Wis., that "real inflation" is more than twice that.

Keep ReadingShow less
White House

Whoever occupies the Whtie House next year will have the opportunity to make the federal workforce more efficient.

DEA/M. BORCHI/Getty Images

Project 2025: Managing the bureaucracy

Breslin is the Joseph C. Palamountain Jr. Chair of Political Science at Skidmore College and author of “A Constitution for the Living: Imagining How Five Generations of Americans Would Rewrite the Nation’s Fundamental Law.”

This is part of a series offering a nonpartisan counter to Project 2025, a conservative guideline to reforming government and policymaking during the first 180 days of a second Trump administration. The Fulcrum's "Cross-Partisan Project 2025" relies on unbiased critical thinking, reexamines outdated assumptions, and uses reason, scientific evidence, and data in analyzing and critiquing Project 2025

Efficiency is not a word that often comes to mind when contemplating the federal bureaucracy. At almost 3 million workers strong, and representing an eye-popping 2 percent of the entire American labor force, the federal bureaucracy is a behemoth. Add to that eight times as many federal contractors and no one — not Democrats and not Republicans — can claim the bureaucratic sector is streamlined.

Donald Devine, Dennis Dean Kirk and Paul Dans, the authors of chapter 3 of the Heritage Foundation’s “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise” (aka Project 2025), understand the numbers. And the problem. Or at least I thought they did.

Keep ReadingShow less
Protestors call for health care beneifts

People demonstrate in support of health care in 2017 in Montana, which expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

William Campbell-Corbis via Getty Images

Has Medicaid expansion in states improved health outcomes?

This fact brief was originally published by EconoFact. Read the original here. Fact briefs are published by newsrooms in the Gigafact network, and republished by The Fulcrum. Visit Gigafact to learn more.

Has Medicaid expansion in states improved health outcomes?

Yes.

Studies have shown that Medicaid expansion in states does lead to improved health outcomes.

Keep ReadingShow less