Hey Donald Trump, another court just saw through your census citizenship question charade
If one thing is clear about the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the U.S. Census, it is that this is a purely political operation. The administration wants to drive down participation in areas that tend to vote Democratic so that Democrats will have fewer congressional and legislative districts .
Don’t take our word, listen to President Donald Trump. Just last Friday he told reporters about the census question: “Number one, you need it for Congress, you need it for Congress, for districting .”
This notwithstanding, the Justice Department, on Trump’s orders, is preparing legal briefs arguing that the Census Bureau has purely administrative, and totally appropriate, reasons for adding the question.
Our advice: Give it up. The courts have already seen through this charade. On June 27, the Supreme Court blocked the census question plan, at least for now, on the grounds that the administration had provided a " contrived" rationale about wanting to improve voting rights enforcement .
Now, with 2020 census forms already being printed to meet tight deadlines, the Justice Department wants us to believe that it will find some new, more plausible explanation? One that is better than the one the court has already rejected and ignores the fact that the president himself has been blabbing about the political gains to be had from rigging the census?
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This is far-fetched, especially because evidence of political chicanery goes beyond the president. Documents left by Republican Party’s chief gerrymandering operative , Thomas Hofeller, showed that he had also been involved in getting the citizenship question added to the census. Tellingly, career lawyers at Justice who had been working on the census case are refusing to participate in the farcical effort to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling, and on Tuesday a federal judge rejected Justice’s bid to swap out lawyers .
The census is one of the few administrative functions of government that is specifically cited in the Constitution. It is mentioned because the Founding Fathers knew then, as we know today, that it is a sacred trust.
The census is the basis of popular rule. It determines how many seats in Congress each state gets, and where within those states each district will be. It does the same for state legislatures and also impacts the flow of federal funds for everything from roads to education. Its constitutional imperative refers to counting " persons " and makes no distinction between citizens and noncitizens.
The move to add a citizenship question was undertaken to make up for the fact that Republican gerrymandering will be at least partially limited this time around. Several states have passed ballot measures that create nonpartisan redistricting processes. And several others have Democratic governors who might veto politically motivated district maps drawn by Republican legislatures.
Rebuffed on the census by the nation's highest court, it is time for the administration to move on.
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