A federal judge in Alabama is allowing to move forward a lawsuit that seeks to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count used to apportion political power in the United States.
U.S. District Judge David Proctor denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit Wednesday, NPR reported.
The lawsuit was brought by the state of Alabama and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL). They allege that including undocumented immigrants in the census count will cause Alabama to lose an electoral college vote and a U.S. House member to a state with a “larger illegal alien population.”
The U.S. Constitution, in its enumeration clause, dictates that the “whole Number” of people is used to determine how to apportion U.S. representatives across the country.
On Wednesday, Proctor said he was expressing “no view on the merits” of Alabama’s claims in the case, but that he had found that the challengers had established standing, allowing the case to advance to its next procedural stages.
The lawsuit is separate from the several challenges brought against the Trump administration for adding a citizenship question to the census — an issue that is now before the Supreme Court. In the Alabama case, civil rights groups have intervened to defend the Census’ current system of including undocumented immigrants in its count for congressional apportionment.
Read the judge’s opinion denying the motion to dismiss below: