June 5, 2019

2020 Census Battle

“Last week the challengers in the dispute over the decision to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census notified the Supreme Court about new evidence. The new evidence, the challengers argued, indicated that a Republican redistricting strategist played a key role in the decision, which was intended to create an advantage for whites and Republicans in future elections. [On Monday] the Trump administration pushed back, calling the challengers’ accusations ‘meritless’ and an ‘eleventh-hour’ effort to ‘derail the Supreme Court’s resolution of this case’...

The district court is scheduled to hold a hearing on the challengers’ motion for sanctions [today]. The Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision before the end of June, so that the government can finalize the census questionnaire and begin printing it.” SCOTUS Blog

On the radar: “House Democrats are moving to hold Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas for documents related to the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left argues that the new evidence makes clear the GOP’s true motives, and condemns the citizenship question as undermining the purpose of the census.

“A trove of documents brought to the attention of the Supreme Court on Thursday makes it hard to see the Trump administration’s efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census as anything but a partisan power grab… An accurate and fair count of everyone in America isn’t just any policy goal. There’s much at stake with the 2020 census — from the future of the next redistricting cycle to how billions of dollars in federal funding will be allocated. The Supreme Court should see this new evidence for what it seems to reveal: A blatant attempt to rig a constitutional mandate.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

“[The] newly revealed documents show that the Trump administration’s purpose in putting the citizenship question on the upcoming census was not its stated one to help Hispanic voters under the Voting Rights Act, but rather to create policy that would be ‘a disadvantage to the Democrats’ and ‘advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites.’ It’s difficult to produce a greater smoking gun than explicitly saying you are hoping to help the GOP by increasing white voting power…

“Even if it is otherwise constitutionally permissible to experiment with different understandings of how to draw districts with equal populations under the equal protection clause, the government should not be able to do so if the purpose is to dilute the power of political adversaries and minority voters, as demonstrated in this case by the new revelations.”
Richard L. Hasen, Slate

“Long before Trump was even elected, Republican Party insiders were plotting to increase white political power at the expense of people of color. After Trump was elected, they implemented this plan by insisting that their actual goal was the protection of minority voting rights… there was the real reason and the stated reason, the truth and the pretext

“That the Republican effort to increase white political power might be motivated by partisanship rather than racism is little solace. Segregationist Democrats might not have insisted on disenfranchising black voters after Reconstruction had those voters not been staunch Republicans. Whether motivated by partisanship or racism, though, the result is the same… [Yet] the census case does not hinge on whether the citizenship question is discriminatory. Rather, as a matter of administrative law, the executive branch must follow certain procedures before making decisions. The Trump administration’s blatant dishonesty settles the question of whether it followed procedure definitively: It did not.”
Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

“Federal law protects the privacy of everyone who responds to the census. But that’s small comfort for immigrants and their families living in a climate of fear under President Trump. Bureau officials have for decades recognized that communities with significant immigrant populations are likely to be undercounted if there is a citizenship question on the census…

“By the bureau’s own, nonpartisan analysis, adding a citizenship question to the ‘short form’ that will go to every household in America in 2020 could result in an undercount of 6.5 million people — close to the entire population of Indiana or Tennessee. And the agency has told Mr. Ross that there are better alternatives to a citizenship question that wouldn’t pose significant ‘potential quality and cost disruptions’ in administering the census, such as deriving citizenship data from the American Community Survey… At the heart of the dispute lies the question: Who gets to be counted?
Editorial Board, New York Times

“In 2016, a poll of voters in key battleground states found that 76 percent of voters agreed with the following statement: ‘However we feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny a woman’s health coverage for it just because she’s poor.’ Sixty-two percent agreedthat ‘when Medicaid covers pregnancy care but withholds coverage for abortion, we’re taking away a low-income woman’s ability to make important personal decisions based on what is best for her circumstances. ’ And a recent poll commissioned by a consortium of women’s health groups found that 9 in 10 women of color believe ‘that a woman being able to control if, when, and how to have children provides both individual and societal benefits.’ If Joe Biden wants to carry the banner of a party that claims to champion, protect and uphold the inalienable rights of black, brown and poor people, he must reverse his support of the Hyde Amendment and follow the lead of his fellow Democratic candidates.”
Danielle Campoamor, Washington Post

Critics of the candidate argue, “Want to defeat Trump? Attack Biden… Many progressives are understandably fearful that attacking the presumptive frontrunner might weaken him and give Trump ammunition for the general election. But challenging Biden’s record is important. For example, his core base of support – older Democrats – needs to know what an unreliable defender of Social Security and Medicare he is. By challenging him on his record, especially in the eyes of older, traditional Democratic voters, progressives could break the myth of Biden’s ‘electability’. (A strange trope given that Biden has tried and failed to be a presidential nominee since the 1980s.)… Anyone angling to be the Democratic nominee should espouse a real progressive agenda – just being ‘anti-Trump’ isn’t enough.”
Bhaskar Sunkara, The Guardian

“For Warren or anyone else to prevent the uniquely depressing experience of a Biden ‘national unity’ campaign, specifically targeted at a tiny cadre of wobbly Trump voters and Jeff Flake-style dissident Republicans, something has to change before next winter. Democratic voters and the media and basically everyone else must get over their skittish, fearful response to the Trump presidency, and their based-on-nothing certainty that nominating a progressive or a woman or a socialist or anybody who isn’t an avuncular white man with a vaguely reassuring demeanor and no discernible ideology will once again lead to disaster.”
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

From the Right

The right does not think the new evidence is relevant to the underlying issue at hand, and defends the citizenship question as a commonsense addition that existed through most of US history.

From the Right

The right does not think the new evidence is relevant to the underlying issue at hand, and defends the citizenship question as a commonsense addition that existed through most of US history.

“During oral arguments in the case, the five conservative Justices seemed to agree with the Trump Administration that Congress has delegated to the Commerce Secretary broad authority over Census questions. As Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas noted in a related opinion last fall, it’s not unconstitutional for cabinet officers to have political motives for a policy. Political appointees also consult with outside experts like Hofeller all the time, as the Obama Administration often did on regulation and litigation… The real goal of flogging the Hofeller memo now is to raise enough of a political stink to intimidate the Supreme Court to block the citizenship question.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“The citizenship question was asked routinely until 1950, after which it was removed from the survey. In the midst of our current immigration crisis, there is certainly very good reason to know how many of the people in the country are citizens, and how many are essentially guests, whether invited or not. The nation ought to be able to have the facts at hand as we decide whether to close the southern border a la Trump or open it per Beto O’Rourke.”
Frank Miele, RealClearPolitics

“Equalizing for citizen population, rather than total population, will have the effect of giving eligible voters equality of electoral power. Consider this: In states with large numbers of noncitizens such as Texas, New York, and California, some state legislative districts may have twice as many eligible voters as adjoining ones. This means districts with fewer citizens have more electoral power than the districts with more citizens. That isn’t fair…

“Equalizing districts by the number of citizens prevents some voters from having their votes over-weighted and over-valued, while others are under-weighted and under-valued. If one-person, one-vote — one of our most enduring egalitarian principles — has any meaning, the citizen population gaps in voting districts must not be so glaringly wide. Without census data that includes citizenship status, it is probably not possible for states and smaller jurisdictions to draw election districts that equalize eligible voters.”
Edward Blum, American Enterprise Institute

“It is worth noting that the citizenship question does not ask about a person’s legal status; it merely asks about citizenship status and thus has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration enforcement. In fact, federal law prevents census data from being used for anything other than statistical analysis. That is the law and there is no evidence any agency intends to violate it… If there is a legitimate fear at all, it is that media hype may create a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is reckless and irresponsible of elected leaders in our country to give minorities the mistaken impression that they have anything to fear from the census for the sake of political gain.”
Ken Paxton, The Hill

“What is odd about the challenge by blue states and liberal advocacy organizations is that even the United Nations… sides with the Trump administration on this issue. In its 2017 ‘Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses,’ the U.N. recommends that member countries ask census questions identifying both an individual’s country of birth and country of citizenship. A Commerce Department memorandum on this subject dated March 26, 2018, notes that countries asking a citizenship question on their census include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.”
Hans A. von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The relevant question is not the nationality of a source offering ‘oppo research’ but the accuracy and relevance of the information. Another consideration is whether the information was obtained illegally—by hacking emails, for example. While the Supreme Court has said people have a First Amendment right to share illegally obtained information if they were not involved in the lawbreaking (something that news organizations frequently do), you might reasonably argue that they should also report such crimes when they become aware of them, which may be what Trump had in mind when he said he might contact the FBI ‘if I thought there was something wrong.’”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

On the bright side...

You can now have an official Pokémon-themed wedding in Japan with Pikachu mascots.

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