Does The Will Of The People Mean Anything?

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the question of asking people if they are citizens on the 2020 census.

The article reported:

Americans by a wide margin agree with President Trump that the upcoming 2020 census should ask a citizenship question.

The latest Economist/YouGov poll found that 53% feel it should ask the question versus 32% who don’t.

The survey asked: “Do you think the federal government should or should not ask people whether they are American citizens as part of the 2020 census?”

  • Should ask 53%
  • Should not ask 32%
  • Not sure 14%

The Supreme Court has rejected including the question in a form the administration proposed but left the door open to another version. And Trump is considering changing the version.

…And it can be done, according to legal expert and George Washington University Law professor John Banzhaf.

“There are several rationales — including one based upon the Constitution itself — which could well still persuade the courts to permit a citizenship question on the census, especially if the explanation were included in the executive order now being considered, rather than in some new declaration by the Secretary of Commerce,” he said in a review of the court’s decision.

Why does this matter? The census is used to determine the number of Representatives a state has in the House of Representatives. Theoretically these Representatives represent American citizens living in their districts. The number of Representatives a state sends to Congress also helps determine the number of votes a state has in the Electoral College.

So if people who are not citizens and may be here illegally are counted in the census, what happens? California, whose population is losing American citizens to other states and gaining illegal immigrants will either retain its current number of Representatives or gain some. States with lower non-citizen populations may be underrepresented in Congress and in the Electoral College. In a sense, when you count non-citizens in the census, you risk taking representation away from Americans. Counting non-citizens will also skew the Electoral College.