After hearing almost 90 minutes of oral arguments, the court's "conservative majority seemed willing Tuesday to defer" to the change, "despite evidence it could lead to an undercount of millions of people," Robert Barnes and Mark Berman report for The Washington Post.
"Every lower-court judge to consider the issue found that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated federal law and regulations in attempting to include the question on the census," Barnes and Berman report. "The lower-court judges starkly rebutted Ross’s claim that the information was requested by the Justice Department to enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities, and they noted his consultations with hard-line immigration advocates in the White House beforehand."
The Supreme Court's more liberal judges, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, seemed skeptical about the citizenship question, and indicated during oral arguments that they were worried the question would reduce compliance and result in less-accurate data. Meanwhile, "three of the court’s conservatives — Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch — indicated in an earlier iteration of the case that they were uncomfortable with the judicial branch playing a deciding role in which questions were asked or deleted," Barnes and Berman report.
"The challengers’ best hopes seem to be in persuading either Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. or Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, Trump’s most recent nominee to the court, to uphold the lower courts’ decisions. But both seemed more accepting of" the administration's arguments, Barnes and Berman report. The court is expected to announce its decision in late June.