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Wilbur Ross Broke Law, Violated Constitution in Census Decision, Judge Rules
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=32088"><span class="small">Fred Barbash, The Washington Post</span></a>   
Thursday, 07 March 2019 13:45

Barbash writes: "Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in 'bad faith,' broke several laws and violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy when he added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a federal judge ruled Wednesday."

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at the White House on March 6. (photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at the White House on March 6. (photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)


Wilbur Ross Broke Law, Violated Constitution in Census Decision, Judge Rules

By Fred Barbash, The Washington Post

07 March 19

 

ommerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in “bad faith,” broke several laws and violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy when he added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

In finding a breach of the Constitution’s enumeration clause, which requires a census every 10 years to determine each state’s representation in Congress, the 126-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco went further than a similar decision on Jan. 15 by Judge Jesse Furman in New York.

The Supreme Court has already agreed to review Furman’s narrower decision, with arguments set for April 23, but may now need to expand its inquiry to constitutional dimensions.

The Commerce Department did not respond to requests for comment.

The administration has been on the losing end of scores of court decisions involving immigration issues since President Trump took office. But the census case has taken on special significance because it strikes at the heart of the United States’ form of government and because of what Seeborg described as a “strong showing of bad faith” by a Cabinet secretary who, influenced in part by White House advisers, tried to conceal his motives.

The cases against Ross have been brought by jurisdictions with significant immigrant populations. Only two have completed trials, the case heard by Furman and brought by 18 states led by New York, and Wednesday’s challenge, initiated by the state of California and combined with a suit brought by the city of San Jose.

Unable to find any expert in the Census Bureau who approved of his plan to add the citizenship question, Seeborg wrote, Ross engaged in a “cynical search to find some reason, any reason” to justify the decision.

He was fully aware that the question would produce a census undercount, particularly among Latinos, the judge said.

That would have probably reduced the representation in Congress — and thus in the electoral college that decides the presidency — of states with significant immigrant populations, notably California.

Because census data is used to apportion distribution of federal funds, an undercount would also have cheated these same jurisdictions, the judge said.

Seeborg, like Furman, found after a trial that Ross misrepresented both to the public and Congress his reasons for adding the citizenship question last March. Ross claimed he was acting at the request of the Justice Department in the interest of enforcing the Voting Rights Act.

In reality, the “evidence establishes” that the voting rights explanation was just “a pretext” and that Ross “acted in bad faith” when he claimed otherwise.

He pursued the citizenship question after hearing from then-White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon and Kris Kobach, the vice chair of Trump’s now-disbanded voting fraud commission.

Apart from violating the ­Constitution, Seeborg ruled, the Commerce Department breached the Administrative Procedure Act by acting “arbitrarily and capriciously” and violated Census Act restrictions on modifying questions.

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+12 # DongiC 2019-03-07 14:36
The Trump Team is foiled again by the courts. Commerce Secretary
Wilbur Ross tried to muck up the census form to the disadvantage of states (NY, CA) with large immigrant populations. The Trumpistas can't stop trying to cheat. Fortunately, they are so inept and the courts are on their toes. Another defeat for Sir Donald and his cohorts.
 
 
+5 # ktony 2019-03-08 07:49
It is impossible to single out the Worst of Trump's cabinet, but Wilbur Ross is a top contender.
 
 
0 # hectormaria 2019-03-08 09:45
Thank goodness that for the most parts the Courts have been able to redress, since 1954, the oppressive laws and regulations that politicians have used to keep themselves in power and that secure privileges for themselves and their well-off supporters. However, the push by this administration and its cronies to pack the courts with their hacks, in order to counteract that trend, will throw us back to the early 20th Century: Justice will NOT flow like water, it will be drowned.
 
 
+2 # Robbee 2019-03-08 10:05
Fred Barbash, The Washington Post
Barbash writes: "Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in 'bad faith,' broke several laws and violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy when he added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a federal judge ruled Wednesday."

O U T S T A N D I N G !
 
 
0 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2019-03-10 16:48
Part I
Well, if SCOTUS overrules the Appeals Court and lets the question stay in the 2020 census, there is one small ray of sunshine. Not just the government but also THE PEOPLE, think ACLU, will have the number of “citizens” in each state. So let’s hypothesize using Georgia.

As a result of the 2010 census, Georgia was allocated 14 seats in the House and 14 electoral votes based on approximately 695k residents per seat. In ruling that states may purge non-voters, SCOTUS clearly did not take into consideration the Fourteenth Amendment which states, “[W]hen the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.”
 
 
0 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2019-03-10 16:53
Part II
In 2018, Georgia had 14 electoral votes and 14 representatives in the house based not on citizens 21 and older but on a total population of about 9.7 million. Assuming 20% were children, that leaves about 7.7 million adults and each seat was supported by 550k citizens 21 or older.

In 2018, between 500k and 1 million people were purged from the voter rolls. That 1 million is to 7.7 million as 2 is to 14. Thus under the Fourteenth Amendment, if sued and proven that those purged individuals were citizens, REGISTERED OR NOT, having been denied the right to vote would cause Georgia to lose 2 House seats and 2 electoral votes.

In short, every Republican state is implementing rules to prohibit CITIZENS from voting. In order to reduce the number of Representatives and electoral votes, all the ACLU et al have to do is prove that the people being purged OR OTHERWISE PROHIBITED FROM VOTING are citizens. Actually, it may be even easier than that. When charged with a crime, the accused is presumed innocent. If we extend that logic, since the 500k – 1 million registered voters can be presumed to be citizens, it may be the State that has to prove that all those people are not citizens instead of all those people having to prove that they ARE citizens.