It appears that Donald Trump’s efforts to f%$# with the US Census will come to naught, because there are data processing issues that will not allow them to get the final results in time:
In a blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to strip unauthorized immigrants from census totals used for reapportionment, Census Bureau officials have concluded that they cannot produce the state population totals required to reallocate seats in the House of Representatives until after President Trump leaves office in January.
The president said in July that he planned to remove unauthorized immigrants from the count for the first time in history, leaving an older and whiter population as the basis for divvying up House seats, a shift that would be likely to increase the number of House seats held by Republicans over the next decade.
But on Wednesday, according to three bureau officials, the Census Bureau told the Commerce Department that a growing number of snags in the massive data-processing operation that generates population totals had delayed the completion of population calculations at least until Jan. 26, and perhaps to mid-February. Those officials spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the Trump administration.
Under law, the White House must send a state-by-state census tally to the House of Representatives next year that will be used to reallocate House seats among the states. On Mr. Trump’s order, the Census Bureau is attempting to compile a separate state-by-state tally of unauthorized immigrants so that their numbers can be subtracted from official census results before they are dispatched to the House.
A federal judge has issued an injunction preventing the Census Bureau from terminating operations while a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s attempt to sabotage the decennial count.
This is not a victory, it’s just a hold until the suit can progress, but it does imply that there is a reasonable chance of their prevailing:
A federal judge has ordered the US Census Bureau for the time being to stop following a plan that would have had it winding down operations in order to finish the 2020 census at the end of September.
The federal judge in San Jose issued a temporary restraining order on Saturday against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department, which oversees the agency.
The order stops the Census Bureau from winding down operations until a court hearing is held on 17 September. The once-a-decade head count of every US resident helps determine how $1.5tn in federal funding is distributed and how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment.
The temporary restraining order was requested by a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups that had sued the Census Bureau, demanding it restore its previous plan for finishing the census at the end of October, instead of using a revised plan to end operations at the end of September. The coalition had argued the earlier deadline would cause the Census Bureau to overlook minority communities in the census, leading to an inaccurate count.
The September hearing should be interesting.
Given that the Supreme Court has already ruled against his putting a citizenship question on the tally, in Dept of Commerce v. New York, and the same 5 votes that ruled against him in that case are still on the court, and they ruled against him because he and his Secretary of Commerce lied to them.
I think that either
- He is hoping that Ginsberg is going to die soon.
- He is hoping that the wheels of justice will grind slowly enough to allow Republican states to gerrymander extremely enough to skew the house for most of the next decade.
This is truly contemptible.
Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Tuesday instructing the US Census Bureau to exclude undocumented immigrants from the population totals that determine how many seats in Congress each state gets. It’s an unprecedented move that seems to be an attempt to preserve white political power.
The American Civil Liberties Union said immediately that it would sue and the action is likely to be met with a flood of legal challenges. The Trump administration appears to be on shaky legal ground – the US constitution requires seats in Congress to be apportioned based on the “whole number of persons” counted in each state during each decennial census. The constitution vests Congress with power over the census (though Congress has since designated some of that authority to the executive).
Republicans in recent years have been pushing to exclude non-citizens and other people ineligible to vote from the tally used to draw electoral districts. In 2015, Thomas Hofeller, a top Republican redistricting expert, explicitly wrote that such a change “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites”.
The White House memo, titled “Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census,” argues that the term “person” in the constitution really means “inhabitant” and that the president has discretion to define what that means. The memo also argues that allowing undocumented people to count rewards states with high numbers of undocumented people.
“My administration will not support giving congressional representation to aliens who enter or remain in the country unlawfully, because doing so would create perverse incentives and undermine our system of government,” Trump said in a statement. “Just as we do not give political power to people who are here temporarily, we should not give political power to people who should not be here at all.”
This is so deeply and profoundly venal and corrupt that it actually exceeds my already low expectations.
In a last-minute move that would give Republicans an advantage in maintaining control of the House of Representatives, the Trump administration is reinstating a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. Coming from an administration that has been hostile toward immigrants, the change was not surprising, but it’s galling nonetheless.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the decision Monday, less than a week before the Census Bureau, which his department oversees, is supposed to send final questions for the 2020 census to Congress. If his decision stands — the attorney general of California has filed a lawsuit to block it, and other elected officials are preparing to do so — it would be the first time in 70 years that the federal government has asked people to specify their citizenship status on the census form sent to every household.
Even Mr. Ross acknowledged in an October House hearing that adding questions to the census reduced response rates because “the more things you ask in those forms, the less likely you are to get them in.”
By now, many people have come to expect that Mr. Trump will inject politics into every decision. But even by this administration’s low standards, trifling with the census, which is required by the Constitution and is a foundation of American democracy, represents a serious breach of trust.
Unfortunately, the Times editorial board does not have the guts to say what is really going on: This is a nakedly partisan attempt to suppress responses to the census in Democratic locations, with the hope that they can juice the numbers to effectively Gerrymander the Congressional map even further.
This is patently and transparently corrupt.
Trump is trying to add a question to the 2020 Census about citizenship status, likely for a court challenge to reduce Congressional representation for blue states by depressing immigrant responses.
Thankfully, this process is rather involved.
Gerard Magliocca looks at the question, and comes up with a brilliant question to add to the census:
I have a separate suggestion. If we are going to add new questions to the census about citizenship, then I would propose reviving one that was asked in the 1870 census. The modern version would ask all citizens above the age of 18 whether their right to vote has ever been “denied . . . or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other crime.” This is language from of Section Two of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that if states deny or abridge suffrage to presumptively eligible voters to excess then their representation in Congress shall be reduced.
It’s never gonna happen, but that made my day.