The Citizenship Question is Officially Dead

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

When the Supreme Court ruled against adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the court did not rule on the constitutionality of the question itself, only that the Department of Commerce and secretary Wilbur Ross did not follow proper procedure when adding the question.

By ruling on a technicality, the court left the Trump regime with a slim window of opportunity to follow proper procedure and add the question to the census, but the regime has now officially canceled plans to add the question.

From Politico:

In a statement about the administration's decision to publish the questionnaire without the citizenship question, Ross said, “I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. ... My focus, and that of the bureau and the entire department, is to conduct a complete and accurate census.”

The Justice Department said during litigation that the Census Bureau faced a June 30 deadline to finalize printed questionnaires.

In short, conducting the 2020 census will require printing literally a billion documents and the federal government must begin the printing process now if they're going to begin the census in January of the new year.

I have no doubt that the Trump regime would have made another attempt -- possibly even a successful attempt -- to add a citizenship question to the next census if they had more time to do so.

The Commerce Department's own analysts estimated that adding the question could wipe millions of people off the census and deprive certain states and congressional districts of federal funds and other resources, but that's a feature, not a bug.

The Commerce Department initially argued that adding a citizenship question was necessary to properly enforce the Voting Rights Act, but that rationale did not pass the laugh test. Subsequent discoveries revealed that the true purpose of adding the question was to reduce the electoral power of Democratic districts and disenfranchise as many voters as possible. But we already knew that.

More often than not, the Trump regime's attempts to alter federal regulations and other procedures have failed because of their own incompetence and inability to follow proper procedure, not because their intent was necessarily illegal or unconstitutional. We'd be truly screwed if they had any idea what they're doing.

  • Christopher Foxx

    I have no doubt that the Trump regime would have made another attempt — possibly even a successful attempt — to add a citizenship question to the next census if they had more time to do so.

    I’ve no doubt they’ll still make another attempt. Given how Trump and his minions have zero respect for the law and believe it doesn’t apply to them I can’t see how they won’t go ahead and print the questionnaires with the citizenship question included.

    And when found out, they’ll claim it was a just an innocent mistake. That the wrong Word file got sent to the printers or some such obvious bullshit.

    But, it being too late to re-print all those forms, “We’ll just have to go ahead and use them. But that”ll be OK because we’ll make sure to tell everyone that they can just disregard that question and don’t have to answer it. There, see. No harm done (wink, wink).”

  • muselet


    “It’s a real burden, being right so often.” –Mal Reynolds (Firefly, “Bushwhacked”; written by Tim Minear)


  • muselet

    Some of the more, shall we say, cynical commenters elsewhere have suggested there could be some sort of mix-up and the census forms *ahem* accidentally being printed with the citizenship question present.

    I won’t go quite that far, but I do expect the administration’s census skulduggery not to end this quickly and easily. There’s at least one more trick left to be played.


    • Christopher Foxx

      I think that’s exactly what they’ll do. And then, because it’s too late to re-print them and “delaying the census to re-print them would violate the Constitution and we would never ever want to do that” they’ll claim they Have no choice but to, regretfully, go ahead with a use the forms anyway.

  • Not so fast! Now Trump himself is claiming that the issue is not resolved. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to ignore the Supreme Court on this. Of course, he could (as always) be lying about not surrendering.

    • gescove

      Trump tweeted that reports of dropping the effort to add the citizenship question were fake news. It is so fake when you directly quote statements by his own Sec’y of Commerce and his own DOJ attorneys. Also, according to WaPo “Justice Department lawyers also notified parties in lawsuits challenging the question, and at least one federal judge who blocked its inclusion, that the company with a $114 million contract to print census questionnaires had been instructed to start printing forms without the citizenship question.” Trump is lying and blustering and is an effing moron.

    • JMAshby

      Trump’s tweets about the workings of his own government are wrong as a matter of course. It’s more noteworthy when he tweets something that is actually accurate.

      • muselet

        Wait, Donald Trump has tweeted something accurate? That’s happened?


        • Nefercat

          Perhaps Ashby was speaking hypothetically.

      • True that.

    • Christopher Foxx

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to ignore the Supreme Court on this.

      I’d be surprised if he doesn’t. It’s be totally unlike him.