It was obvious from Trump’s outraged tweet about Democrats fighting the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census that he doesn’t understand the purpose of the U.S. Census at all. Calling it “meaningless and a waste of the $billions (ridiculous) that it costs to put together!” without the citizenship question is just more evidence that Trump just does not understand how the government works despite his seat at head of the most powerful table in the country.
U.S. District Judge George Hazel in Maryland rules adding question violates the Constitution and administrative law? pic.twitter.com/DTkiTR5PYb
— Hansi Lo Wang (@hansilowang) April 5, 2019
On Thursday, a third federal judge, Maryland’s U.S. District Judge George Hazel ruled the inclusion of a question asking about the citizenship status of people answering census questions, which is required by law, is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is set to deliberate the legal arguments around the census question on April 23, but the case has made its way through the federal courts in the meantime.
According to NPR:
‘In a 119-page opinion, U.S. District Judge George Hazel in Maryland concluded that the decision by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, to add the question violated administrative law. Federal judges in New York and California came to the same conclusion.
‘Similar to the earlier ruling in California, the judge also found including the question would be unconstitutional because, at a time of increased immigration enforcement and anti-immigrant rhetoric, it hinders the government’s ability to count every person living in the U.S. once a decade as the Constitution requires.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 5, 2019
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was subpoenaed by Congress in regards to the question and the motivations behind including it. The legality of a plan to do so by the president and his administration has been challenged, with Democrats saying that the White House broke the law by not informing Congress through reports about any changes to the upcoming survey.
Ultimately, it is the Supreme Court who will decide whether or not the question will be included, but Congress intends to probe the legality of the process behind Trump’s attempts to get the question on the survey ahead of 2020.
‘A Supreme Court hearing about whether including the question is constitutional and the New York ruling, which has already blocked the citizenship question, is scheduled to be held on April 23, and the justices are expected to rule by June on whether the 2020 census will ultimately include the question.’
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Can you please read the Constitution?
The Constitutional mandate is clear: the census is for counting people. Whether a person is a green card holder, DACA recipient, or other resident is irrelevant to the constitutional mandate.#MondayMorning Thoughts https://t.co/inK7CEd3LF
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 1, 2019
The census is intended to help guide the allocation of funds for government services and to inform policy. In a climate of anti-immigrant sentiment in the highest level of government, including the question appears to be nothing more than an attempt to root out those living in the country illegally, which defeats the purpose and may end up causing inaccuracies in the counting. That would be a waste of the federal tax dollars used to conduct the survey.
Of course, Trump’s team has foolishly and inexplicably claimed that including the question is a way to protect voting rights for minorities, but is anyone buying that explanation?
‘The Trump administration has insisted that the Justice Department wants responses to the question to better enforce a part of the Voting Rights Act that protects racial and language minorities against discrimination.
‘For the California ruling, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg wrote in his opinion, however, that enforcing that civil rights law is “nothing more than a pretext designed to provide cover for the Secretary’s unexplained desire to add the citizenship question to the census.”‘
Third federal judge rules against citizenship question on 2020 census https://t.co/5P1i0VRKo0
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) April 5, 2019