“Is this person a citizen of the United States?”
The Supreme Court is about to rule as to whether the Trump administration can include this question in the 2020 Census. Opponents say and studies have shown that adding this question will lead to a massive undercount in the Hispanic population, reshaping Congressional Districts to give more power to Republicans and lessen the influence of minorities. Trump officials say the request to add the question was necessary to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act. If so, it would be the only action their administration has taken to protect voter rights since taking office. Everything else they’ve done from the hiring of Kris Kobach to head his ill-fated Voter-Fraud Commission to making Jeff Sessions his first Attorney General demonstrated the lack of concern for minority voting rights. A quote from an unnamed Trump senior official during his campaign is as follows.
“‘We have three major voter suppression operations underway, They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African-Americans.”
It was reported by Businessweek that all of the known suppression tactics the campaign used were legal but it doesn’t change the point. To paraphrase Kanye West after Hurricane Katrina, “Donald Trump doesn’t give a damn about black people.” The suggestion he and his administration cares about enforcement of the Voting Rights Act is laughable on its face.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testified to Congress that the impetus for the question was a request from the Department of Justice that the question is added. The administration has insisted the DOJ made the request despite information showing Ross asked the Justice Department to make the request. After the Supreme Court received the case but before their imminent decision has been released. A Senior Advisor to Ross confirmed in testimony to the House Oversight Committee that Ross initiated the request and not the DOJ. Ross has refused to appear after receiving a subpoena and the Committee has recommended he be found in Contempt of Congress
The Supreme Court in oral arguments appeared to be ready to support the Administration despite their lies and intent being common knowledge. Newly surfaced documents show the late GOP consultant Thomas Hofeller was involved in the creation of the question. E-mails between Hofeller and a top Ross aide prove the political nature of the question. Hofeller in the past was heavily involved in redistricting efforts designed to benefit Republicans. The Supreme Court has been asked to withhold its decision based on the new evidence. The lower Federal Court in Maryland plans to reconsider the case. Trump’s Justice Department is appealing, saying not that the new evidence is untrue but that it was obtained illegally.
The question remains, what will the Supreme Court do? Despite the limited information in the record. They cannot help but know the truth behind the creation of the question and the racist motive behind it. The Court historically has a mixed record on issues involving race. They gave us Plessey v Ferguson which upheld segregation and Dred Scott which denied black people any rights. They also gave us Brown v Board of Education which ended school segregation while at the same time muting the decision with the words “with all deliberate speed” which added decades to its implementation. Every Civil Rights Act or Voting Rights Act ever passed by Congress has ultimately been weakened by the Supreme Court, including the 1965 Voting Rights Act the Trump administration now claims to support.
If the Supreme Court sides with Trump, writing a decision supporting their desire to enforce the Voting Rights Act. They will not only be blind but willfully so. They will have shown their partisan bias and total disdain for not only justice but Democracy itself. They have long shed the illusion that they favored the people over corporations. They will have proven that the Republican-appointed Justices answered the call when it came. The Rule-of-Law will have been further diminished by the will of Party. I would like to believe the Court capable of rising to the occasion, history has shown them quite willing to fail their opportunity to do right.