The federal government on Friday asked a judge to dismiss Alabama’s lawsuit seeking to include only citizens and other legal residents in 2020 U.S. census counts.
U.S. Department of Commerce made the request in a filing responding to the state’s lawsuit.
Alabama and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks sued the Commerce Department and U.S. Census Bureau last year over the practice of counting all U.S. residents, regardless of their citizenship status.
The lawsuit contends that Alabama could lose a congressional seat and an electoral vote to a state with a “larger illegal alien population.”
In June refused to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds, but made no comment on the merits of the case. Lawyers for the government on Friday renewed their request for the judge to dismiss the lawsuit after filing their response.
The Constitution says that apportionment shall be decided after “counting the whole number of persons in each state.” It has been the practice to include all U.S. residents in the census counts, which also determine the number of congressional seats for each state.
Alabama is seeking to have the practice declared unconstitutional.
In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against two Texas residents who argued their votes were diluted by the practice of using the “whole population” to draw legislative district lines.