(INDIANAPOLIS) — How much federal money Indiana receives depends on how the Supreme Court rules on a case heard Monday.
22 states are challenging President Trump’s July order to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count. That could shift which states get the last three or four seats in the House. While Indiana isn’t likely to be affected there, the census also determines all 50 states’ shares of federal money for hundreds of programs.
A lower court ruled Trump’s order directly contradicts federal law, and that it’s “not particularly close or complicated” More complicated is whether there’s anything to sue over before that count is delivered. IUPUI McKinney School of Law Professor Gerard Magliocca notes the U.S. solicitor general told the justices he couldn’t make even a ballpark guess of how many people might be subtracted from the count under the order.
Magliocca says it’s possible the number could be too small to make a significant difference in apportionment or funding. It’s not clear how the government intends to calculate how many people are in the U.S. illegally, and Magliocca says the issue will be how many of those people were counted by the census. But if the court rules the case isn’t ripe yet, and the number ends up large enough to have an impact, Magliocca says the justices will just end up dealing with the issue again later.
The transition to President-elect Joe Biden doesn’t affect the case, since the law calls for the outgoing president to deliver the census data to Congress in early January.
The Pew Research Center estimates excluding undocumented immigrants would strip one House seat apiece from California, Texas, and Florida, and shift them to Ohio, Minnesota, and Alabama instead. Other estimates suggest New Jersey or New York might lose a seat instead of Florida, or that a fourth seat could shift from Arizona to Montana.