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Monday, December 09, 2019

Second Federal Judge Blasts Commerce Secretary’s Census Scheme

A federal judge slammed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday for breaking the law and violating the Constitution in a scheme to manipulate the 2020 census. The case, initiated by a lawsuit from the state of California, revolves around a citizenship question Ross wants included on the census.

In his 126-page ruling, Judge Richard Seeborg found that Ross violated both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution.

Seeborg wrote that Ross engaged in “a cynical search to find some reason, any reason, or an agency request to justify that preordained result” rather than working within the confines of the law.

A citizenship question on the census would result in undercounting Latinos and undocumented people living in the United States, thus undermining the very purpose of the decennial census.

In fact, Ross knew the impact of adding such a question and moved forward with his attempt anyway. Seeborg recognized the “unrefuted evidence” from Census Bureau staff showing a citizenship question would depress response rates among Latino and noncitizen communities.

California, home of the largest number of Hispanic people, argued that any effort to undercount people living in the state could impact their representation in both Congress and the electoral college, since both are based on population. In fact, the Washington Post previously reported that the overall result would benefit Republicans for the next decade.

Further, census data is used to allocate federal funds, so undercounting certain segments of the population could have dramatic impacts on both state and local funding formulas.

In the end, Seeborg found that Ross “acted in bad faith” throughout the process.

This was the second federal court to rule against the Trump administration’s racist attempts to undercount Latinos in the 2020 census. Earlier this year, Judge Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Ross made “egregious” violations of the law in his attempt to add the question.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case based on Furman’s ruling, with arguments scheduled to take place on April 23. The court will ultimately decide if the Trump administration’s racist attempts to manipulate the census are out of bounds.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

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