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Vox Sentences: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

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The Supreme Court will deliberate whether a citizenship question on the 2020 census is unconstitutional; two Reuters journalists remain in jail in Myanmar.

The census’s citizenship question goes to court

Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • The Supreme Court will soon decide whether the 2020 census can ask people about their citizenship — a decision with wide-ranging ramifications for the next 10 years. [NYT / Adam Liptak]
  • The Supreme Court leans to the right, with five conservatives and four liberal justices. And on the first day of oral arguments, the conservatives seemed likely to unite in deferring to the Trump administration. [Washington Post / Robert Barnes and Mark Berman]
  • The citizenship question was first brought up in 2017 by Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, who claimed he was honoring the request of the Justice Department to improve data about citizenship to help enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Blue states and civil rights groups immediately challenged the request, and three federal judges ruled that Ross had long wanted to implement the citizenship question. [CNN / Ariane de Vogue]
  • The census, which is distributed every 10 years, is important because the data that is gathered is the baseline for many decisions made, such as allotment of funding, congressional representation, and electoral votes. [NPR / Hansi Lo Wang]
  • Although the question cannot be used to deport people — it does not ask whether respondents are legal or unauthorized immigrants — many people decide to ditch the survey altogether in fear of how their information will be used. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Ultimately, experts estimate 6.5 million people will not take the survey if the question is implemented. The Constitution requires the government to survey everyone, regardless of citizenship, and any efforts to deter such collection of data is “unconstitutional,” critics argue. [ABC News / Devin Dwyer]
  • The Supreme Court doesn’t have long to make a decision, as the census must be printed in June for it to be released on time. The next two months will impact the next 10 years. [FiveThirtyEight / Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux]

Myanmar’s highest court rejects appeal by jailed Reuters journalists

  • Two jailed Reuters journalists were denied their latest appeal in Myanmar on Tuesday. The reporters, who have been in jail for 16 months, have lost faith in the judicial system to set them free from a seven-year sentence. [Washington Post / Kyaw Ye Lynn and Timothy McLaughlin]
  • The reporters — Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 — were reporting on violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar when they were captured in December 2017 for allegedly illegally obtaining an official document. [AP / Aung Naing Soe]
  • In their appeal to the country’s top court, the reporters cited a lack of proof that they violated the law and included evidence that the arrest was a setup arranged by the police. Last year, a police officer testified that police had planted documents on the journalists. [Reuters / Shoon Naing and Simon Lewis]
  • Defense lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said that the reporters will no longer file for appeals and instead are hoping for a presidential pardon. The court decision did not occur in the presence of the journalist, it was the wives who attended and cried after the announcements. [CNN / Cape Diamond and Julia Hollingsworth]
  • Earlier this month, the reporters won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting in Myanmar, which focused on exposing military units and Buddhist villagers who were responsible for the killing of Rohingya Muslims. [NPR / Mathew S. Schwartz]


  • About 360,000 children in three African countries will receive the first-ever vaccine for malaria as part of a World Health Organization pilot project. Malaria still kills an estimated 435,000 people annually, and cases have been on the rise in recent years. [CNN / Katie Hunt]
  • A staggering new study finds that Greenland’s ice is melting six times faster than it did in the 1980s. [Washington Post / Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis]
  • This is Game of Thrones’ last season, but the megahit TV show will live on in merchandise. HBO has collaborated with Adidas to make GoT inspired shoes; there are also collaborations for beer, makeup, and board games. [AP]
  • James Holzhauer is on track to become the most successful Jeopardy contestant of all time. But is all that winning bad for the show? [Variety / Daniel D’Addario]
  • In honor of Prince Louis’s first birthday today, Kensington Palace released three adorable new photos of the young royal. [ET / Scott Baumgartner]


“Myanmar authorities have committed a grave injustice to Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their families, and criminalized independent journalism.” [CPJ senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn Crispin on Monday, condemning Myanmar authorities for keeping Reuters journalists in jail for reporting the truth]

Watch this: The goose that conquered America

The Canada goose is a nuisance. But you might not realize how it got that way. [YouTube / Phil Edwards]

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