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Thomas Gallatin / July 3, 2019

Trump Drops Citizenship Question After Roberts Rules — Or Does He?

With time running out, DOJ goes forward with printing census sans citizenship question.

Update: President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday, “The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.” It’s not the first time a cabinet member (in this case Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross) made an administration announcement only to be thrown under the Trump Express after the fact. So stay tuned, because this story may not be resolved.

Original story below:

The fight to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census is over. On Tuesday, a Justice Department lawyer explained, “The decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and … the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process.” This change represents a quick about-face for President Donald Trump, who had initially expressed a commitment to delay the census in order to include a citizenship question following the Supreme Court’s erroneous decision last week to reject the administration’s rationale for including the question.

Chief Justice John Roberts once again showed his judicial weakness when he chose to side with his leftist colleagues in a 5-4 decision. His rationale of rejecting not the question itself but the Trump administration’s motivation for including it demonstrated that Roberts is a justice who cannot be trusted to rule on the constitutional merits of a law in question. Feelings rather than objective-based reasoning seem to have great sway with Roberts.

The decision to go ahead with the printing of census materials without a citizenship question is a recognition by Trump that there is no way to meet Roberts’s arbitrary standard for justifying the motive for including the citizenship question, regardless of the time constraints. To comply with the constitutional mandate to administrate the census, Trump had little choice but to concede.

This is clearly a win for Democrats, who aim to increase their power via swelling their districts with swaths of noncitizens — people who cannot vote and yet do contribute to the overall population numbers in their districts, which in turn affects the number of representatives in blue areas. Meanwhile, the U.S. government will continue having difficulty accurately recording the number of noncitizens currently living in the country.

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