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Supreme Court rules against adding citizen question to the census, in favor of redistricting

June 27, 2019

  It looks like there was a mixed bag coming from the Supreme Court today on two major rulings. The first ruling handed down was on adding a citizenship question to the census and John Roberts sided with the liberals in what will keep the question off the 2020 census.

  Here is more:

The Supreme Court found Thursday that the Trump administration did not give an adequate reason for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, blocking the question for at least the time being.

The move is a surprise win for advocates who opposed the question’s addition, arguing it will lead to an inaccurate population count. The administration had argued the question was needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The justices sent the issue back to the Commerce Department to provide another explanation.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s liberal wing in delivering the court’s opinion.

Roberts wrote that “the decision to reinstate a citizenship question cannot be adequately explained in terms of DOJ’s [the Department of Justice’s] request for improved citizenship data to better enforce the VRA.”

“Several points, considered together, reveal a significant mismatch between the decision [Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross] made and the rationale he provided.”

Roberts pointed to evidence showing that Ross, whose department oversees the census, intended to include a citizenship question on the census “about a week into his tenure, but it contains no hint that he was considering VRA enforcement in connection with that project.”

However, the chief justice said that the decision to add the citizenship question was not “substantively invalid.”

“But agencies must pursue their goals reasonably,” Roberts said. “What was provided here was more of a distraction.”

  What is odd about this decision from what I read in the last two paragraphs and what I have read elsewhere is that John Roberts is saying the President has the authority to add this question to the census but he did not like the reason the administration gave for adding the question therefor he kicked it back to the lower courts where it will not be adjudicated in time for the 2020 census.

  There have been rumors John Roberts was compromised since he twisted and turned in the wind trying to justify his sudden change of heart on the Constitutionality of the Obamacare mandate and this is not going to help those rumors because it certainly looks like he did the same in order to keep a question he admitted was legitimate from the census.

  Next up was the redistricting case where the Supreme Court ruled this was something which should be settled in the Congress and not in the courts. Here is more:

The Supreme Court says federal courts have no role to play in policing political districts drawn for partisan gain. The decision could embolden political line-drawing for partisan gain when state lawmakers undertake the next round of redistricting following the 2020 census.

The justices said by a 5-4 vote on Thursday that claims of partisan gerrymandering do not belong in federal court. The court’s conservative, Republican-appointed majority says that voters and elected officials should be the arbiters of what is a political dispute.

The court rejected challenges to Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina and a Democratic district in Maryland.

The decision was a major blow to critics of the partisan manipulation of electoral maps that can result when one party controls redistricting.

Chief Justice John Roberts said for the majority that the districting plans “are highly partisan by any measure.” But he said courts are the wrong place to settle these disputes.

  I think John Roberts got this one right, redistricting is always highly partisan and this belongs in the legislature, but the only time we seem to hear about it is when Democrats are whining because they are not in charge.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

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