Trump Caves In, Won’t Put Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

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President Trump is caving in to the Supreme Court. That’s too bad. I was hoping to watch the show. Instead he’s doing this:

Trump himself is typically incoherent trying to explain what this is all about, but Attorney General Bill Barr explained that they hope to use this information for apportionment. That is, they presumably want to apportion members of Congress by number of citizens per state, not number of residents. This is going to be tough sledding given the clear wording of the 14th Amendment:

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.

It says persons, not citizens, and the framers of the 14th Amendment clearly knew the difference. I suppose the Trumpies could try arguing that “Indians not taxed” really means “anyone not taxed,” and that “not taxed” means “not paying income tax” even though the income tax hadn’t been invented at the time. Other than that, I’m not sure how they could argue for apportionment based on citizens instead of residents. But that’s probably just because I’m not being creative enough.

Alternatively, Republicans could leave overall apportionment alone but try to draw congressional districts based on citizens, not residents. This would open up new avenues for gerrymandering that, for example, would probably keep Texas red for a while longer. The Supreme Court has previously signaled that it might be open to this kind of thing.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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