House Democrats could continue to see their thin majority continue to shrink in the future depending on the outcome of a case brought before the Supreme Court by the Trump administration. The administration is seeking to exclude illegal aliens from calculations that are used to allocate the number of House seats each state gets.
“Blue states losing even a handful of seats would make the House’s thin Democratic majority even more precarious,” The Washington Free Beacon reported. “Congressional analysts suggest Democrats will lose the House in 2022 on the basis of reapportionment alone, since red states with growing populations are expected to gain seats. But right-leaning states like Florida and Texas could each pick up one seat fewer as a result of the order, according to the Pew Research Center.”
The New York Times noted that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Trump administration that it “could shift political power from Democratic states to Republican ones.” Playing to the political Left’s intersectional theme, the Times claimed that the most likely effect would be “shifting seats to states that are older, whiter and typically more Republican.”
If the Supreme Court sides with the Trump administration, it could lessen the power that major metropolitan areas have in determining a state’s power in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The nation’s unauthorized immigrant population is highly concentrated, more so than the U.S. population overall,” Pew Research reported. “In 2016, the 20 metro areas with the most unauthorized immigrants were home to 6.5 million of them, or 61% of the estimated nationwide total. By contrast, only 37% of the total U.S. population lived in those metro areas.”
The Free Beacon notes that the Constitution and a federal statute appoint House seats based on the “whole number of persons in each state,” a phrase on which the case focuses heavily. The Free Beacon reports:
In court filings, acting solicitor general Jeffrey Wall argues that phrase covers the “inhabitants” of each state. It’s reasonable to say a person who “lacks permission to be in this country” is not an inhabitant, Wall wrote, adding that the president has discretion to determine who counts as an inhabitant.
In a 1992 case, the Supreme Court allowed the first Bush administration to include overseas Defense Department personnel in their home state populations for the census. The Court recognized that the president is the “ultimate decision-maker concerning the contents of the decennial census,” Wall wrote.
The government has not developed a precise method for sifting illegal aliens out of the reapportionment baseline. The administration tried to include a citizenship question on census forms, but that move faltered in the face of legal challenges. The president then directed federal agencies to use administrative records to identify non-citizens, but in legal papers the Justice Department conceded that census officials haven’t worked out the finer points.
The case comes as House Republicans made significant gains in this year’s elections, flipping a total of 12 seats so far for a net gain of 9 seats. Seven more races still have not been called. Republicans are up in all seven of the remaining races.