Friday, May 31, 2019

New docs show census citizenship question is GOP election plot

Should be no surprise to anybody who is not very naive/

May 30, 2019, 2:52 PM EDT / Updated May 30, 2019, 7:42 PM EDT
By Pete Williams

Trump administration witnesses were deliberately misleading when they testified about the origins of a plan to include a citizenship question on the coming census, opponents of the idea said Thursday, citing recently discovered evidence.

While the government has maintained that adding the question was intended to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, the driving force was actually a desire to get more Republicans elected to state legislatures and the House of Representatives, the ACLU said in new court filings.

The Supreme Court is now considering whether the Commerce Department acted properly in ordering the Census Bureau to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census form that goes to every U.S. household, despite warnings from populous states that doing so would actually make the count less accurate.


The ACLU said the new evidence reveals that the idea originated with Thomas Hofeller, a Republican redistricting specialist, who wrote in letters and memos that the question would create an electoral advantage for "Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites." He helped ghostwrite a draft of the Justice Department letter, which adopted his rationale and some of the actual wording, the ACLU said.

Getting better citizenship data, Hofeller argued in newly disclosed documents, would help Republican legislatures create legislative and congressional district maps with fewer Latinos, who tend to vote for Democrats.


Both the Trump administration and the challengers agree that adding the citizenship question will reduce the census response rate, especially in immigrant communities. But when the case was argued in April, the court's conservative majority seemed prepared to rule that Ross had acted within his authority to add it, because no method is guaranteed to produce an accurate count.

A census is required every 10 years by the Constitution, and the results determine how many members of Congress each state gets in the House of Representatives. The data is also used to calculate a local government's share of funds under many federal programs.

The conservatives on the supreme court are either fools, or traitors to our democracy. I think it's more the latter. If they rule to allow the question now, they will prove themselves to be the latter.

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