Citizen question on Census blocked by SCOTUS

PracticalMac

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Chief Justice John Roberts, partially upheld a January ruling from Southern District of New York judge Jesse Furman. Furman ruled that the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the census violated US law by being “arbitrary and capricious,” since the Trump administration’s stated reasoning for adding the question (to help enforce the Voting Rights Act) was shown at trial to be an after-the-fact rationalization.
One of the biggest hot-button topics will have peoples heads exploding everywhere.



Bring popcorn (free heat to get poppin!)


Update:
AAAAAAAND naturally, it is Chaos45 who has the meltdown.
 
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Carnegie

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This is a complicated ruling which deals with several different legal questions. Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion is joined by different combinations of justices for different parts of it. I haven’t read all of it yet, and I haven’t read all of the concurrence / dissents. It seems the only things all the justices agree on is that some of the plaintiffs have standing and the case needs to be remanded.

That said, the Court didn’t decide that the Department of Commerce can’t add a citizenship question to the Census. In a number of ways the Court ruled in the Department of Commerce’s favor.

At the end of the day what this decision means - as best I can tell from a cursory review - is that Commerce needs to come up with a more believable reason for adding a citizenship question. The Court essentially agreed with the district court that the reason Commerce offered was pretextual. Can it come up with a more believable reason? Does it have time to do so, to effectively get that reason accepted by the courts, and then include it on the Census questionnaire. I don’t know.


EDIT: As best I can tell, Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh wouldn’t remand. They’d essentially find for the Department of Commerce, reversing the district court and allowing the citizenship question to be added without a better reason for it being needed.
 
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Rogifan

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Both rulings were 5-4 decisions. On the census Roberts sided with the liberals on the gerrymandering he sided with the conservatives.
 

Carnegie

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Both rulings were 5-4 decisions. On the census Roberts sided with the liberals on the gerrymandering he sided with the conservatives.
Chief Justice Roberts sided with both the liberals and the conservatives in the citizenship question case. There were a number of different issues and the voting mix was different on some of them. Some were decided unanimously, some with the Chief and the liberals, some with the Chief and the conservatives, and some with everyone except Justices Alito and Gorsuch.
 

Rogifan

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Chief Justice Roberts sided with both the liberals and the conservatives in the citizenship question case. There were a number of different issues and the voting mix was different on some of them. Some were decided unanimously, some with the Chief and the liberals, some with the Chief and the conservatives, and some with everyone except Justices Alito and Gorsuch.
Well blue check mark conservative Twitter seems to think he gave the liberals a win here. Matt Schlapp thinks Roberts should be impeached. He thinks Roberts wants illegals to help Democrats hold congress. Lou Dobbs says Trump should ignore the court and add it to the census anyway.
 
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Carnegie

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Well blue check mark conservative Twitter seems to think he gave the liberals a win here. Matt Schlapp thinks Roberts should be impeached. He thinks Roberts wants illegals to help Democrats hold congress.
I don't know who Matt Schlapp is and I don't know who you are referring to when you say blue check mark conservative Twitter. For my part, if I want to know the import of a given Supreme Court decision I read it for myself. Mainstream reporting - and I suspect social media reporting - on Supreme Court cases is often pretty bad. Sometimes it's plainly inaccurate. Sometimes it's misleading. Sometimes it just misses important nuance.

That said, I've seen plenty of comments regarding Chief Justice Roberts which suggest to me that those making the comments haven't really paid close attention to what the Chief has said and done on the Court. Either that or they haven't been objective in their assessments. The notion that he's, on the whole, a friend of liberals or liberal ideology is, frankly, bunk. There are a number of justices - both ones considered liberal and ones considered conservative - who would deserve impeachment long before the Chief Justice would. (Though, to be clear, I'm not suggesting that any of them do.)

Regarding this case - i.e. the citizenship question case - both sides might fairly consider it a win. But regardless of which side - i.e. those supporting the question of those opposing it - might be considered the winner, it would be wrong (or at least misleading) to say that the Chief Justice sided with the liberals in this case - if, by that, one was suggesting that he didn't also side with the conservatives. He did side with them on an important aspect of the case. But he also sided with the conservatives on an important aspect of the case.

If the liberal justices had had their way, the possibility of a citizenship question in the upcoming Census would have been foreclosed by this decision. They would have found the decision to include it to be arbitrary and capricious, regardless of whether it was pretextual. If the conservative justices had had their way, the decision to include the citizenship question would either be considered unreviewable or sufficiently justified. So its inclusion would be allowed. As it is it remains an open question whether a citizenship question will be allowed and included in the upcoming Census.

All that said, I'd note that earlier this week Justice Gorsuch voted with the 4 (so-called) liberals against the other 4 (so-called) conservatives in two different significant cases. He didn't do that because he's generally liberal; he surely is not. He did it, in my view, because the liberals happened to be on the right side of the legal issues in those cases while the conservatives were on the wrong side. And I say that as someone who agrees with the conservatives on the court more often that I do the liberals. For me the important ideological distinction is between libertarian and authoritarian views, where liberals and conservatives alike far too often happen to fall on the wrong side of that ideological divide. For me it's about interpreting the Constitution as placing substantial constraints on government actors. Both sides - the liberals and the conservatives - routinely fail at that.
 
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jerwin

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At the end of the day what this decision means - as best I can tell from a cursory review - is that Commerce needs to come up with a more believable reason for adding a citizenship question. The Court essentially agreed with the district court that the reason Commerce offered was pretextual. Can it come up with a more believable reason? Does it have time to do so, to effectively get that reason accepted by the courts, and then include it on the Census questionnaire. I don’t know.
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