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June 27, 2019

Justice Roberts Joins the (Other) Liberals to Block Census Citizenship Question; Lower Court Will Rehear, But Printing Delays Might Result in Question Being Left Off Census No Matter What the Lower Court Ruling

Bush's other legacy continues delivering for us like his primary one does.

The Court blocked, for now, the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

If that wasn't bad enough, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote along with the four liberal justices. Writing for the Court, Roberts agreed that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had the power and authority to add the question, but something just didn't smell right.

Over the last few weeks, the ACLU has bombarded the Court with letters, missives, complaints, and self-proclaimed bombshells containing conspiracy theories on the "real" origins of the Census question. It's not as bad as O.J.'s quest for the real killer, but it's close.

...

It's a shame that five votes validated these extracurricular mob tactics after the briefing was complete. It provides a roadmap for future last-minute efforts to influence the Supreme Court. One suspects Chief Justice Janice Rogers Brown or Chief Justice Edith Jones would not have sided with the left to block the Census question. Whether or not the citizenship question can still be added to the Census before the printer needs the final proofs remains to be seen.

So, a furious media campaign succeeded in persuading Roberts to side with the left?

I guess there's a first time for everything. And maybe a second or third time, too.

SCOTUSBlog notes the possibility that Roberts has engineered a win for the left based simply on a ticking clock:

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's four liberal justices in ruling that the justification that the government offered at the time for including the citizenship question was just a pretext. The decision left open the possibility that the Trump administration could try again to add the citizenship question, but the clock is ticking: The government has repeatedly told the justices, in urging them to resolve the case quickly, that it needs to finalize the census questionnaire by the end of this month.

Roberts basically sided with the hard left in deciding that CNN and the media had provided enough conspiracy theories to ignore the general dictum that a lawful order by a federal official be carried out:

In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court today explained that the district court had overturned Ross’ decision to add the citizenship question for two reasons. The first is that it wasn’t supported by the evidence before Ross, because the Census Bureau had recommended that the citizenship data be gathered from administrative records instead. But neither approach was perfect, Roberts concluded, so it was reasonable for Ross to decide to use the citizenship question instead of the administrative records. And it was also reasonable for him to decide that it would be worth it to include the citizenship question even though it might result in a lower response rate from households with residents who are not U.S. citizens.

But the district court had also ruled that Ross’ rationale for including the citizenship question – that the Department of Justice had asked for the data to better enforce federal voting-rights laws – was a pretext for its actual reasoning, and here the court agreed. "The evidence showed," Roberts wrote, that Ross "was determined to reinstate a citizenship question from the time he entered office; instructed his staff to make it happen; waited while Commerce officials explored whether another agency would request census-based citizenship data; subsequently contacted the Attorney General himself to ask if DOJ would make the request; and adopted the Voting Rights Act rationale late in the process."

Roberts acknowledged that courts should be "deferential" when reviewing an agency's action, but he countered – citing Judge Henry Friendly, for whom he clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit – that "we are not required to exhibit a naivete from which ordinary citizens are free." And here, when "the evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation the Secretary gave for his decision," judicial review calls for "something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case." "In these unusual circumstances," Roberts concluded, the district court was therefore correct to send the case back to the Department of Commerce for it to provide a better explanation.

It's not clear to me why a citizenship question should be stricken just because the administrator who ordered it added had a history of supporting it.

All leftwing officials come with a factory-installed preference for socialism and identity politics. Will their orders also be rejected by the Supreme Court, just because they did not enter office as blank policy slates?

Doubtful. There are a lot of Conservatives Only "rules" enforced by the left, and Bush's legacy Roberts just added a new one to the list.

What more triumphs will the Bush/Romney/McCain liberal wing of the party be delivering to us? I can't wait to find out!

The court did, however, end the regime of federal courts overturning gerrymandered election maps.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 01:56 PM

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