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The announcement late Tuesday by the Trump administration that it would drop efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census is a victory not only for a more accurate census but for the rule of law.

The administration had insisted that it needed to ask everyone across the country next year whether they were U.S. citizens to help it enforce the Voting Rights Act, a laughably thin excuse for an administration that cares naught for voting rights.

The truth emerged early on. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the request had come from Justice Department officials.

But he lied. Government records and testimony eventually revealed that Ross and former Trump whisperer Steve Bannon were behind the effort; Justice officials asked for the question because Ross wanted the department to provide him cover.

And then the nation learned in recent weeks that the impetus for adding the question likely came from a longtime Republican strategist, who saw it as a mechanism to drive down voter participation from immigrant communities — which tend to align with the Democrats — and increase the political power of more conservative white Americans.

The Supreme Court affirmed that Ross’ Voting Rights Act argument was a pretext, and that while the Commerce secretary has the legal authority to make such policy decisions, he can’t, in essence, lie to do it.

The court told the Trump administration it could try again if it cooked up a more believable reason that was based on facts, but the administration apparently decided that hurdle was too high, and gave up.

That means the government now can move forward with the task of finalizing the questionnaire and getting it off to the printer so the count can begin next year as scheduled — and as required by the Constitution.

As the Times editorial board argued more than a year ago, asking about citizenship in this fraught political climate is a manifestly bad idea.

“It is in the nation’s interest to get this count right,” the board noted. “Republican congressional leaders must look beyond the administration’s narrow view of America to ensure that the constitutional mandate is met, and that people across the country — regardless of citizenship, immigration status or political party — receive the congressional representation and federal aid to which they are constitutionally entitled.”

More significantly, the effort sought to politicize something that should be objective: the most accurate count possible of how many people are living in the country.

Score one for the nation.

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Scott Martelle writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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(16) comments

capedcrusader

new2Lax must have written about the bewildered herd with Chip.

new2Lax

Homey, after the conclusion of current investigations I suspect Democrats will be struggling just to exist much less be in power. Maybe you think it is all a made up and that will be how it ends, hope springs eternal, my boy.

oldhomey

You seem to be betting that Trump's personal attorney, William Barr, who is also the attorney general, is so corrupt that he will see to it that the ginned up charges against those who rang alarm bells on Trump are punished. The problem with that, my boy, is that the Trump people don't own the judiciary quite yet. They would have to meet some legal standards to do this, and I don't think they can. In fact, I doubt that Barr is quite that corrupt to go all the way with this, anyway. These people understand they are at the center of power in this point in history, and that their names will have to live up to or down to their actual performance in office, eventually. I don't think most of them will want to go down in history as being a fall guy to a scuzzball like Donald Trump.

Jobaba

I think the US Constitution is pretty clear. It says to count the people living in the US. It doesn't say "use this opportunity to find illegals" It also doesn't say "use this opportunity to enforce voting rights". We have other ways and organizations to accomplish all sorts of things. The census requirements are clear, leave it to the GOP and new2life to try to twist and manipulate our founding document. This is why republicans no longer are seen as the party of patriotism nation wide. Polls are revealing a large amount of distrust in their patriotic fervor.

johnnybragatti

2exlax neo"s gotta guy? who knew the Orange Carcass, was dis-honest and unethical enough to do a gerrymandering ,redistricting gig via the United States of America census.? It will most assuredly head to the dead letter office, without a whimper from the exlaxes" fairy godfather : trump. The lowlife, in chief, ain"t above the law. He"s gonna find that out real soon.

Rick Czeczok

This is your brain on drugs.....

johnnybragatti

Your name is :"Z-Kok" and will be for the rest of life. Your mother- told ya'll not to take the Brown Acid, but your memory is shot ,just like toonude Exlax. That ain"t no way to treat a partner.

new2Lax

The only thing you are going to find out going forward is what the Democrats tried doing to the country and you can see it materializing everyday. What is being exposed by these organizations is shocking and with the media’s coverage makes it a slow process. One thing I am confident in is the fact we are dealing with the issue and what happened will be the biggest political scandal of the nations history. This will be an embarrassment for the country but just think if Hillary would have been elected and where our political system would be, say in 8 years. I for one, would have not believed it and with the control of the media and critical government agencies, no one would believe it. The left took the step toward corruption and the media came along as they would be big beneficiaries of the left. Controlling the media was an absolute must and they were able to accomplish it. You can see the concern even on these posts, the name calling, denials seem to be getting much worse. Not to worry, the games concluding.

martian2

Thank you Scott for revealing another lie from this administration. Now cue the haters comments here in 3, 2, 1.......

new2Lax

Getting this accomplished is still on and remain on, you would be wrong in thinking this will not be pursued.

oldhomey

Right, new2. We can depend on Trump to stick by corrupt, dishonest false pretexts to do what is bad for the country but what is good for himself. And, sadly, he is proving that very thing in this instance. He is your guy, new2. That speaks volumes about what you are.

new2Lax

He is not only my guy, he is the only guy. When have you known the Democrats or the left in general care one iota for the rule of law. They do not enforce laws we have now and instead of trying to do the right thing by trying to change the law, they decide they do not have to enforce them because they don’t like them. They know up front they are in the minority when it comes to trying to change a the law so resistance must be the answer. We have all kinds of laws that are being neglected, crimes committed and go unaccounted for but that seems to be okay with the left. Trying to find out if you are a citizen has been asked since 1820 and now it’s a problem, to find out where and how many illegals are here is an absolute necessity for the government and that’s a fact.You are correct, I want my guy for the American people first, Democrats just about ruined the country and it seems Americans came through in the nick of time. Can you even imagine with what we are finding out now about agency corruption and the weaponizing of these agencies for political gain would never have been discovered but I guess you would have been okay with that, not I. You will see it all come out right before your eyes and if I am in any way wrong in what’s about to happen, you will be either excuse it or deny it and that speaks volumes about not only what you are but who you are, just another left wing lunatic, they are all over the Democrat party and thank god, to their doom.

new2Lax

Why on earth would you not want the government to know who is in the country illegally, where they are and what they are doing and any other information there is to be had about them, after all they have no right to be here, it violates our immigration laws. They are not vetted and could be dangerous to American citizens, they could be a drain on our welfare system, they could be dealers, murderers, rapists, swindlers, they may be carrying diseases and coming in undetected puts everyone at risk. What country would allow this to happen to their people. There are ways to enter the country and that is the way the majority want it.or like I said, change the law but you know better than to suggest anything like that, you know you would lose this argument, hands down and that is simply, cowardly.

oldhomey

Won't it be great when the Democrats come back into power, new2, so that you can finally rest easy that the laws of the land are being applied and applied to everybody? It will be a terrible spectacle to have a former president put on criminal trial, but he has been so open about his corruption, I fear he will have to stand as an object lesson to other corrupt pretenders to the crown. There are international laws and agreements on how to treat asylum seekers who come to a nation's borders. The best way to handle this, though it takes discipline and courage for any nation and its citizens, is to abide by these agreements and laws, becoming a sterling example and showcase of the liberating power of justice and human rights. We currently are disregarding these laws and international agreements, as a numerous other nations like ours that are now under assault by phony populism and would be dictatorships.

oldhomey

Well, finally, new2 has connected the dots and sees that the radical turn to the right in many established democracies, including in the U.S. under the banner of Donald Trump, has the world on a very dangerous course of fascism that closely resembles the events of the 1930s in Germany and Italy. I am also relieved that he does not want to see me running the country. I am way too old and way too dumb to take on such a job. And given my poor qualifications for the job, just consider how much worse it would be with somebody like new2 in charge of anything other than obeying his own calls to nature. And without knowing him, I wonder if he has mastered that, either.

oldhomey

My sincerest apologies to new2. My observations on the danger of rising fascism were intended for Ricky, not new2, a mistake one may credit with my advanced age and stupidity. On the other hand, the reply seems perfectly apt for new2 as well as Ricky, so I will not whip myself too severely for my mistake.

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