Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled out a question regarding citizenship status of respondents to the 2020 census.
The question hasn't been on the census since 2000 and even before that was only included on the long form that only about 1 in six households received. Most got a shorter form without any questions about immigration status.
President Trump's administration pushed to have the question included on the upcoming 2020 census form. That wasn't popular with some states. They feared a smaller count and the loss of federal funding as well as loss of seats (or at least failure to gain seats) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
So the matter went to court. The administration lost. The high court decided the administration's reasons for adding the question did not meet legal muster.
Just a couple of days ago, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that in the wake of the court decision, the question would not be on the 2020 form.
Then on Wednesday, President Trump contradicted Ross, taking to Twitter to say, "The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE!"
The president went on to say, "We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question."
Exactly how he plans to make this happen is unclear. We'll just have to wait and see.
For the record, we see no reason citizenship status shouldn't be on the census. It's an important piece of information. By the same token, we don't know how many honest responses we should expect.
The president may just be tweeting for effect with nothing in the works. Or he may be plannings some sort of showdown with nation's highest court. If so, he will likely learn there are limits to presidential power.
The citizenship question can wait until better arguments are found. This isn't something the president should fall on his sword over.