Tag Archives: 2020 Census

Average Joe SCOTUS: Department of Commerce v. New York

On the 2020 census, the Department of Commerce, at Trump’s request, wanted a question added to the census, that hadn’t been asked since before the Chevrolet Corvette came into being.

They wanted to ask if anyone in the household is not a U.S. Citizen. Their argument being it would help with enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. He argued:

One of the critical elements of Voting Rights Act enforcement is something called Citizen Voting Age Population, or CVAP.

Right now, everything for CVAP comes from the census, with the exception of citizenship.

So population, age, race, all of that comes from the census, except for citizenship, the C in CVAP. So a large amount of voting rights litigation focuses on expert witnesses who try to fill in that missing C and try to estimate that missing C through imputation based on the American Community Survey, which goes to just one in 38 households. And the Department of Justice wanted to get all of the same information from the same database so that critical feature of voting rights litigation, CVAP, all came from the same place.

New York, fearing that homes with an illegal immigrant would say “no” to avoid a visit from ICE, sought to prevent that question from being asked. They want an accurate count, which supports the idea of having the census, since an accurate count helps them understand how many public servants to employ to assist them, and such. Plus, they just think Trump is an asshole, and it’s an asshole question to ask.

So New York decided to depose Trump’s peeps, and ask why the fuck they felt they needed to ask this question in a census, since it seemed politically motivated, and doesn’t help get an accurate count. But the government applied for a stay, basically asking the courts to tell New York to STFU and let them run their goddamn census as they saw fit.

The courts denied this stay, however, and the depositions were allowed to go forward. In the meantime, the district court decided to lay down the law, and tell Trump’s peeps to get rid of the fucking question.

So now SCOTUS was asked by the fed to decide if the district court was out of line, both in handing down their decision, and compelling testimony from Trump’s goons. They were basically trying to get SCOTUS to quash the lower court’s ruling against them.

Breyer and Sotomayor seemed to take particular issue with the fed and their idea that the question wouldn’t cause the census to be less accurate, which was New York’s argument as well, because they laid into Noel Francisco (Solicitor for the fed) on this point like he had slapped their mothers.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS told the fed to go fuck themselves—remove the fucking question. The argued the courts did the right thing, and the feds can take their question and shove it up their ass.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.