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HC Wake-Up Call: Judge Blocks Citizenship Question From Census, Brexit Deal Defeated & Netflix Raises Prices

Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Judge Blocks Trump Administration From Adding Citizenship Question to the Census

A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a ruling in a series of lawsuits that claim that the citizenship question would harm immigrants and cause fewer immigrants to answer the decennial survey.

The plaintiffs in the case ― 18 states, the District of Columbia, 15 cities and a a few activist groups ― have claimed that the citizenship question argued that the Trump administration intended to decrease response rates among immigrants and minorities, Reuters reports.

And those fewer responses could potentially have a lasting impact. The census is used to determine the allocation of congressional seats and how federal funds are disbursed, and could cost these Democratic-leaning communities representation in the House of Representatives and cut their federal funding, The Huffington Post reports.

The Trump administration said that it was within its power to add the citizenship question, and did not think the question would decrease responses, and even if it did, the Census Bureau planned to follow up with individuals, officials said.

But U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York did not agree, saying it would mean that “hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people will go uncounted in the census.”

While Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross claimed that citizenship data ed from the citizenship question — which hasn’t been on the decennial census since 1950 — was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects voters from discrimination, but plaintiffs claimed that Ross’ plan was to decrease responses all along, Reuters reports.

In a 277-page opinion, Furman called Ross’ Voting Rights Act “pretextual.”

“He announced his decision in a manner that concealed its true basis rather than explaining it,” Furman said.

Ross has said he added the question upon the request of the Justice Department, but evidence at the trial showed that Ross has intended to include the question prior to the department’s request. In addition, Ross did not heed the advice of experts, including from individuals within the Census Bureau itself, about how including the question could potentially hurt data, HuffPost reports.

Furman said Ross and his aides behaved “like people with something to hide,” ultimately leading to “inescapable” conclusion that they had “something to hide.”

Kelly Laco, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the Trump administration was “disappointed” by the ruling, adding that the “government is legally entitled to include a citizenship question on the census, and people in the United States have a legal obligation to answer.”

Dale Ho, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, called the ruling “a forceful rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to weaponize the census.”

The Trump administration is expected to repeal the ruling.

Brexit Deal is Voted Down by Parliament

The political future of the United Kingdom (UK) is once again up in the air as Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was voted down in Parliament on Tuesday.

According to ABC News, the lead up to the vote on the Brexit deal saw May criticized on both sides of the political spectrum, with some arguing that the deal would leave the UK too closely tied to the European Union (EU) and other argued that the deal would hurt the economy.

Following eight days of debate, the House of Commons voted down the deal 432 votes to 202, CNN reports.

With the Brexit deal voted down, the future relationship between the UK ad the EU remains uncertain. On Sunday, May posted in a Facebook statement that if the deal did not pass, the UK could end up remaining in the EU or leaving it without a deal.

“If Parliament does not come together and back this deal in our national interest, we risk leaving with no deal, with all the uncertainty for jobs and security that will bring,” May wrote. “Or, with MPs unwilling to face the uncertainty of no deal and with no other offer on the table, we will risk not leaving the European Union at all.”

The opposition Labour Party immediately triggered a vote of no-confidence. If May’s government loses that vote, it means that the prime minister would have to resign, triggering a general election.

But May urged all the members of Parliament (MPs) to listen to the British citizens that voted to leave the EU.

“I ask members on all sides of the house to listen to the British people, who want this issue settled, and to work with the government to do just that,” May said.

According to ABC News, other MPs called for a second referendum to end the political gridlock, which could result in the UK remaining in the EU.

From this point, the UK could try to renegotiate another deal with the EU, or leave the EU on the March 29th deadline without a deal.  

Netflix Just Raised Its Prices Again

Binge-watching our favorite shows just got a bit more expensive on Netflix. The streaming giant just raised prices on its streaming plans again for both new and existing customers.

According to Hello Giggles, Netflix’s basic plan, which allows you to watch your favorite shows on one device, will increase from $7.99 to $8.99 per month. The company’s most popular plan, which offers high-definition streaming on two devices simultaneously, will increase to $12.99 from from $10.99. Netflix’s Premium subscription, which allows users to stream on four screens in Ultra HD 4K format, will also raise by $2 — from $13.99 to $15.99 per month.

The price increase will immediately go into effect for new customers, and will be implemented in the next few months for existing customers, according to ABC News.

This is the fourth time that the streaming giant has increased its price — the last increase was in 2017.

In a statement during the last price increase, Netflix said, “From time to time, Netflix plans and pricing are adjusted as we add more exclusive TV shows and movies, introduce new product features, and improve the overall Netflix experience to help members find something great to watch even faster.”

But the extra money from the new price increase will help pay for Netflix’s huge investment in its original shows and films, as it tries to rivals such as Disney and Amazon.

While it’s never easy to the prices to our favorite services go up, having access to all of the new, incredible content coming, such as the upcoming third season of Stranger Things which will hit Netflix this summer, is definitely worth it.

What to look out for…

Airbnb will pay for you to spend the summer in the Italian countryside, and sign me up.

Emily has also authored political articles for Restless Magazine and numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. When she isn't writing, she can be found flying off to her next adventure, attempting new recipes, listening to one of her infinite playlists on Spotify, or cuddling with her dogs. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @emilycveith.