Once upon a time, when a Democrat named Barack Obama was president, Republicans screamed about the unconstitutionality of a president issuing executive orders. It didn’t matter than President Obama had issued no more, and in many cases much fewer, executive orders than any other modern president. It was the fact that he issued any they didn’t like that led them to scream about constitutional purity.
President Trump says he's "thinking about" using an executive order to add a citizenship question to the census pic.twitter.com/scAja8FiWD
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 5, 2019
Now that a Republican is in office, one who doesn’t seem to understand what his powers as president are or what the balance of power means, is now threatening to override a Supreme Court decision that prevents his administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. The SCOTUS rules on policies based on their constitutionality and are the branch of the government tasked with interpreting the Constitution, but Republicans are unconcerned about Trump skirting the rules.
At a presser before leaving for yet another golf vacation, Trump told reporters that he’s considering the executive order now that SCOTUS ruled against him.
‘We’re thinking about doing that, it’s one of the ways…I have a lot of respect for [Chief] Justice [John] Roberts — but he didn’t like it, but he did say come back. We could start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision.’
Trump is annoyed census will be printed without citizenship question, hated statements that appeared to give up & has told lawyers to try and fix it with an executive order & add to document later. Seems unlikely that would work. Much confusion internally. https://t.co/rcNCNEofV6
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) July 3, 2019
Chief Justice John Roberts actually said no such thing as “come back.” What he and the other justices who shot down Trump’s request said was that the reason given for adding the citizenship question, to support the Voting Rights Act, was fabricated. Evidence has already shown that Trump’s Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had long planned to add the question, well before he decided that the Voting Rights Act would be the excuse.
The Washington Post reports that:
‘Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau and approved the question, said in congressional testimony that it came from the Justice Department. But emails released as part of an ongoing court challenge show that Ross was working to add the citizenship question months before the Justice Department sent a letter in December 2017 with detailed reasons and a formal request.’
#Trump denies administration's retreat on #censuscitizenshipquestion. No citizenship question would help democrats to count votes of illegals which they always do.@realDonaldTrump https://t.co/GacBvm0OAv
— Nikki Weston (@NikkiWeston20) July 3, 2019
Republicans have remained silent and no one has complained about any violation of the Constitution from Trump’s publicly stated plan. His declaration that the administration would issue a new excuse for the citizenship question is unlikely to be successful, either.
According to the New York Times:
‘Once the court rejected the administration’s stated rationale as phony — or “contrived,” as Chief Justice Roberts put it more politely in agreeing with Federal District Judge Jesse Furman that improved enforcement of the Voting Rights Act was not Secretary Ross’s real motive — the administration might have tried to come up with some other politically palatable explanation. That would almost certainly have failed, because courts generally will not accept what they call “post hoc rationalizations,” explanations cooked up under pressure and after the fact. But even if such a ploy had succeeded, its very success would have proved Secretary Ross to have been a liar all along.’
Featured image screenshot via YouTube