The Supreme Court Will Hear The Case Regarding The Citizenship Question On The Census

Yesterday Breitbart reported that the Supreme Court will hear the case regarding putting a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The article details some of the history of the question:

The Enumeration Clause in Article I of the Constitution requires a nationwide census be taken every ten years. The Census Act empowers the head of the Commerce Department to determine what the census will ask, aside from the number of persons residing at every address in the nation. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decided for the Trump administration that the census will ask each person in the nation next year if that person is a citizen of the United States.

That was a recurring question on census forms until recently. The first census to ask about citizenship was the one conducted in 1820, and the last was 1950. After 1950, the Census Bureau – which is part of the Commerce Department – has continued to ask that question on the “long form” census form that goes to some census-takers, as well as on its yearly questionnaire that goes to a small number of households each year, called the American Community Survey (ACS).

…However, when Ross put that question on the 2020 census, leftwing partisans sued, claiming that inserting this question violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). More surprising to many, Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York agreed, writing a 277-page decision (which is shockingly long) holding that it is illegal to ask about citizenship.

The article explains that the case revolves around the APA:

There are three issues in the case. The first is whether it violates the APA for the census to ask about citizenship. The second is whether courts can look beyond the administrative record to probe the thinking of top-ranking government officials in an APA case. The justices inserted a third issue of their own, asking whether asking that if the APA allows the question, would that question nonetheless violate the Enumeration Clause.

In other words, the case is about whether asking about citizenship violates either federal law or the Constitution, and also whether it is out of bounds to chase down a member of the president’s Cabinet in such lawsuits.

This case has very significant implications. Legislative districting lines for Congress and statehouses are based on census data. Dozens of congressional seats and perhaps hundreds of state seats could shift if states drew lines based on citizenship, instead of total numbers of persons. Some even argue that congressional seats, and with them Electoral College votes for president, could be reallocated among the states based on citizenship data. At minimum, billions of dollars in federal spending is based on census numbers.

The states that will probably lose representatives and electoral college votes if the citizenship questions is on the census are California, New York, Arizona, and possibly New Mexico.

The question to me is whether or not people who are in America but not citizens should have a voice in our government. Would you allow a guest in your house to determine your household budget?

Irony At Its Best

The Trump tax cuts made life a little easier for most Americans. They made life a little more difficult for some middle class and wealthy people in states with high taxes. Oddly enough, many of these states with high taxes are blue states with large populations and huge state budgets. Some of the most affected states were California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, all reliably blue states. Those states control 116 Electoral College votes and send 106 Representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives (out of 435 total Representatives). Now, after all the complaining that the Trump tax cuts were tax cuts for the rich (which they were not), Democrats want to give the wealthy in high-tax states their tax cuts.

Real Clear Politics posted an article today about the Democrats’ plan.

The article reports:

Democrats often complain that tax cuts primarily benefit “the rich,” but apparently they only think it’s a problem when rich conservatives get a tax break, because they’re outraged that President Trump’s tax cuts scaled back a generous subsidy enjoyed by well-off taxpayers in liberal states.

A key provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a new cap on the so-called State and Local Tax (“SALT”) Deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes on their federal tax return. This provision forces taxpayers in low-tax states such as Florida and Texas to effectively subsidize those in high-tax states such as New York and California.

For years, blue-state Democrats have been able to raise state income and property taxes far higher than voters might normally tolerate. That’s because the SALT deduction softened the impact for taxpayers in those states, particularly for the rich campaign-donor class. Since the SALT deduction only applies to taxpayers who itemize their returns, its benefits naturally accrue to those in the highest income bracket.

There was previously no limit to how much taxpayers could deduct through SALT, but even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the deduction at $10,000, almost 93 percent of American taxpayers will be unaffected. It’s likely that fewer taxpayers will elect to take advantage of SALT, since the law also doubled the standard deduction, but about 11 million of the highest-earning Americans living in high-tax states are seeing their federal income tax liabilities increase.

It’s curious that liberals who criticized Trump so vociferously for “cutting taxes on the wealthy” are so upset by an element of the tax reform plan that merely takes away a tax break enjoyed disproportionately by the wealthy.

The problem here is simple. The Democrats believe that President Trump cut taxes for the rich (which he didn’t), but it was the wrong rich. However, just for the record, since most of the tax burden falls on Americans who are relatively successful, their tax cuts are going to seem larger than those who pay little or no taxes.

The following chart is from a Pew Research article. The figures are from 2015:

People who make over $100,000 (which in some areas of the country is not a lot of spending power) pay over 80% of all income taxes paid. I think we need to reopen the discussion of a flat tax. Everyone needs to have an equal stake in the game.

This Is Not Good News For Our Representative Republic

The Daily Caller is reporting today that New Mexico is the fourteenth state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). This is the group that says their states electoral college votes will go to the presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes. In other words, it really doesn’t matter how the residents of these states vote, this is where the electoral votes are going. In essence, that means that New York and California will determine who our next President is if this trend continues.

Just for reference, this is a picture of the 2016 election:

The article points out:

States that have passed similar legislation to join the NPVIC now represent 189 electoral votes. The compact could become official when that number hits 270, enough votes to elect the president of the United States.

That would change America from a Representative Republic to a Democracy.

I am reminded of the words of Benjamin Franklin after the Constitutional Convention of 1787:

A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Moving forward with the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact means that we will not keep it.

Who Gets To Be Represented In Congress?

One America News Network reported yesterday that the Supreme Court will take up the matter of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The article reports:

The Trump Administration is looking to appeal a ruling by the Southern District of New York, which struck down their request. The ruling then headed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals; however, this latest move means Justices will resolve the case before the lower court has the chance to review it.

The Department of Justice said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who announced he would pursue updating the questionnaire in 2018, has the legal authority to include the citizenship question on next year’s census.

However, the district judge cast doubt on the reasoning behind Ross’ decision to include the question in the survey. The judge argued its inclusion would be unlawful and would violate the Administrative Procedure Act, but Ross cited the need to enforce the Voting Rights Act by asking census-takers if they are citizens of the United States.

The agency argued the question was included in previous years, with it last being seen in 1950.

Why is this important? It’s important for the House of Representatives and for the Electoral College.

The National Immigration Forum explained the impact of the question in an article posted in August 2018:

Because Congress is reapportioned in accordance with overall population, states with large undocumented populations that would go uncounted stand to lose representation. Due to the growth of the immigrant population in the southeast in recent years, in both rural towns and large southern cities like Atlanta and Charlotte, the impact of a census undercount will be felt in blue and red areas alike. As one expert has noted, the states “most disadvantaged, however, are not those with simply the most undocumented people,” like New York or Illinois. Rather, the states with the highest proportion of undocumented people compared to overall population would be the most impacted. These states include solid blue states like California, Maryland and New Jersey, but also a number of red states and swing states – Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas. To the extent the citizenship question drives down the response rate, these states are most likely to lose congressional representation.

The number of votes a state receives in the Electoral College is also partially determined by the number of Representatives the state has in Congress, so an accurate count of the population is also important in determining the number of electors.

Putting the citizenship question on the 2020 Census will allow a more realistic count of American citizens. American citizens are the people Congress is supposed to represent. You gain the right to vote and to be represented when you become a citizen. Otherwise, you are simply a guest. Would you let a guest (invited or uninvited) determine the rules and budget of your household?

How To Disenfranchise The Voters In Your State

On March 8 the Associated Press posted an article about a change in the way that Delaware casts its electoral college votes.

The article reports:

The legislation, approved on a 14-7 vote, requires Delaware to cast its three electoral votes for the national popular vote winner, rather than the winner of the popular vote in Delaware. Two Republicans joined majority Democrats in voting for the bill, which now goes to the Democrat-led House.

Eleven Democratic-leaning states and the District of Columbia already have voted to enter the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Democrat-controlled Colorado will soon join the list, giving the compact 181 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to elect the president.

So if I live in Delaware, why should I vote?

The problem here is that the lawmakers do not understand the reasoning behind the electoral college. The idea behind the electoral college was to make sure that the smaller states had a say in the election of a President. Without the electoral college, our President would be chosen by New York, California, and the large cities in America. Most of these areas are controlled by Democrats, and a casual observer will quickly realize that these are some of the most poorly managed areas of the country.

This is the county map of the 2016 Presidential Election:

The new law in Delaware essentially says to its citizens, “We don’t care who you voted for, your votes are going with the majority. If the majority consists of New York, California, and the major cities, they are going to be the people who elect the President.”

So if you live in Delaware, why should you vote for President?

If you want evidence that the Democrats are attempting to fix the next Presidential election, the article provides it:

Eleven Democratic-leaning states and the District of Columbia already have voted to enter the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Democrat-controlled Colorado will soon join the list, giving the compact 181 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to elect the president.

This is a map of the states that have signed on to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact:

This could end our representative republic.

This Is Important Because It Determines Electoral College Votes And Congressional Seats

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about a decision by US District Judge Dabney Friedrich.

The article reports quotes a CNN article:

US District Judge Dabney Friedrich declined to issue a preliminary injunction requested by a privacy and civil liberties nonprofit group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

The group argued that the US Census Bureau was required to complete a privacy impact assessment before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the addition of the question.

In response, the government acknowledged it is required to update its privacy impact assessments, but must do so before collecting census responses, rather than before deciding what questions would appear.

The court sided with the government, with much of the technical, 20-page decision centered on the question of when the law requires the assessment to be completed. The ruling also suggested the group would have been more persuasive if it had asked the court to require a privacy impact assessment be performed, rather than halt the citizenship question.

“The Bureau did not act contrary to the E-Government Act by deciding to collect citizenship data before conducting, reviewing, or releasing a PIA addressing that decision,” Friedrich wrote.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center said in a statement it “intends to press forward with” its lawsuit.

The lawsuit is in the US District Court for the District of Columbia and is one of at least seven challenging the citizenship question. It is the only one focused primarily on privacy grounds.

Why is this important? The number of members each state has in the House of Representatives is supposed to be determined by the number of Americans living in the state. When illegal immigrants are included in that number, a state will be over represented in Congress and since the number of Congressmen from a state determines the number of votes in the Electoral College, the state will also be over represented there. In other words, the votes of American citizens will be diluted by the votes of non-citizens. Since most illegals seem to congregate in left-leaning states, counting them as citizens gives the Democrats more votes in Congress. That explains why the Democrats are unwilling to secure the borders and why the Democrats oppose a citizenship question on the census.

The following tweet explains the situation very well:

Abandoning What You Probably Never Read

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted a commentary with the headline, “Democrats Abandon the Constitution.” Actually they did that a long time ago, which is why they were so upset at the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh–he might work to bring it back.

The commentary goes on to list some of the basic tenets of the Constitution that the Democrats are currently railing against:

Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court has sparked a firestorm of outrage and recrimination on the left. Some attacks seem aimed at intimidating the justices into supporting progressive causes. “The Court must now prove—through its work—that it is worthy of the nation’s trust,” Eric Holder, President Obama’s attorney general, tweeted Oct. 6.

Yet the attacks go beyond ideology. Detractors of Justice Kavanaugh and President Trump are denouncing the Constitution itself and the core elements of America’s governmental structure:

  • The Electoral College. Mr. Trump’s opponents claim he is an illegitimate president because Hillary Clinton “won the popular vote.” One commentator even asked “what kind of nation allows the loser of a national election to become president.” The complaint that the Electoral College is undemocratic is nothing new. The Framers designed it that way. They created a republican form of government, not a pure democracy, and adopted various antimajoritarian measures to keep the “demos” in check.

The Electoral College could be eliminated by amending the Constitution. But proposing an amendment requires two-thirds votes in both houses of Congress, and the legislatures of three-fourths, or 38, of the states would have to ratify it.

  • The Senate. The complaint here is that the 50 senators who voted in Justice Kavanaugh’s favor “represent” fewer people than the 48 who voted against him. But senators represent states, not people.

Equal Senate representation for the states was a key part of the Connecticut Compromise, along with House seats apportioned by population. The compromise persuaded large and small states alike to accept the new Constitution. It was so fundamental that Article V of the Constitution—which spells out the amendment procedure—provides that “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” That means an amendment changing the structure of the Senate would require ratification by all 50 states.

  • Judicial independence. Commentators who disapprove of the Supreme Court’s composition have urged, as one law professor put it, “shrinking the power of the courts to overrun our citizens’ democratic decisions.” Some suggest limiting and staggering the justices’ terms so that a vacancy would come up every other year, ensuring that the court follows the election returns. That could be achieved via constitutional amendment, but it would go against the Framers’ wisdom. As Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 78, life tenure for judges is “the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright and impartial administration of the laws.”

What we have hear is a living example of what happens when you don’t teach American history and the principles of the Constitution in schools. The people calling for these changes have no concept of how our government was designed or the safeguards that were put in it. Their desire is to take those safeguards out and institute mob rule. That has not worked well in other places, and I seriously doubt it would work well here. It was what our Founding Fathers sought to avoid.

The commentary concludes:

The anger and disappointment of Justice Kavanaugh’s opponents is understandable, as would be that of his supporters if the vote had gone the other way. They are perfectly entitled to pursue political remedies, including using his appointment as a campaign issue. They also are entitled to pursue amendments to the Constitution that would make our system of government more responsive to the popular will. What they cannot do is overturn the Connecticut Compromise guaranteeing each state equal representation in the Senate, or launch unconstitutional investigations or impeachment of a sitting Supreme Court justice. The Constitution protects all of us, even Supreme Court justices.

True.

This Might Actually Be A Serious Proposal

CNS News posted an article today about an item that will appear on the ballot in California in November.

The article reports:

The State of California is “nearly ungovernable,” given its “diverse population and economies.” So says a newly qualified ballot initiative that would split California into three states — maybe — if voters approve the proposal in November.

The summary posted online by the State Attorney General’s office says the split would require the approval of Congress and undoubtedly the courts. If all parties approved the plan, “all tax collections and spending by the existing State of California would end. California’s existing state assets and liabilities would be divided among three new states. These states would make their own decisions about state and local taxes and spending.”

One of the new states would be named Northern California (or a name to be chosen by the people of that state). It would encompass 40 northern counties, including San Francisco and its surrounds.

The second state, tentatively named California, would include only six counties: Los Angeles, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

The third new state, to be named Southern California (or a name chosen by the people), would include 12 counties, including Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Tulare.

Los Angeles Times cartoonist David Horsey has already proposed names for the three new states:

Los Angeles Times cartoonist David Horsey suggested naming the Northern California/Napa area “Weed” or “Merlot”; he suggested that the Silicon Valley area be named “iState”; and Los Angeles/Hollywood could be called “Bling.”)

The article points out two aspects of this change if it is voted in–first, California would then have six representatives in the Senate–making it more influential than states with only two representatives (but there is no guarantee all six senators would agree on anything). Secondly, California votes in the Electoral College might be split between candidates–giving Republicans votes from a state that generally does not give them Electoral Votes.

It will be interesting to see exactly how this plays out.

About The Popular Vote vs. The Electoral College Thing

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the final numbers from the 2016 Presidential Election.

The article reports some amazing statistics:

If you take California out of the popular vote equation, then Trump wins the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes. And if California voted like every other Democratic state — where Clinton averaged 53.5% wins — Clinton and Trump end up in a virtual popular vote tie. (This was not the case in 2012. Obama beat Romney by 2 million votes that year, not counting California.)

Meanwhile, if you look at every other measure, Trump was the clear and decisive winner in this election.

Number of states won:
Trump: 30
Clinton: 20
_________________
Trump: +10

Number of electoral votes won:
Trump: 306
Clinton: 232
_________________
Trump: + 68

Ave. margin of victory in winning states:
Trump: 56%
Clinton: 53.5%
_________________
Trump: + 2.5 points

Popular vote total:
Trump: 62,958,211
Clinton: 65,818,318
_________________
Clinton: + 2.8 million

Popular vote total outside California:
Trump: 58,474,401
Clinton: 57,064,530
_________________
Trump: + 1.4 million

This is a stunning example of the reason our Founding Fathers made the Electoral College part of the U.S. Constitution. Do you really want California determining who will be President?

Maybe The Hysteria Will Stop Now

Yahoo News is reporting today that Donald Trump has officially won the Electoral College vote. If is official–Donald Trump is our President-elect, to be sworn in January 20, 2017.

The article reports:

Washington (AFP) – America’s Electoral College on Monday confirmed Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States, unswayed by a last-ditch bid by die-hard opponents to bar the Republican’s path to the White House.

Six weeks after his upset victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump sailed as expected past the 270 votes needed to make his victory official, according to US media, clearing the way for him to succeed Barack Obama on January 20.

“Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump; officially elected President of the United States today by the Electoral College!” tweeted Vice President-elect Mike Pence as the results came in.

Under normal circumstances, the Electoral College vote is a little-watched, rubber stamp formality in which electors across the country officially cast votes for the candidate that won the popular tally in their state.

This time, however, Democratic activists casting the Republican as a threat to democracy staged a vocal campaign urging Republican electors to break ranks and refuse to vote for him.

When US voters cast their ballots on November 8, they did not directly elect the next president but rather 538 electors charged with translating their wishes into reality.

After a deeply divisive campaign, Trump won a clear majority of those electors — 306 — although his Democratic rival finished nearly three million votes ahead in the popular tally.

This signifies the end of the process of selecting the next President. Can we all please begin to work together to overcome the obstacles that we face? News reports today are an indication that terrorism is a real threat throughout the world, and we are not immune. The workforce participation rate is the lowest it has been since the 1970’s. Health insurance premiums are skyrocketing. We have real problems that we also have the capability to solve. Let’s solve them together.

 

Contrary To What The Media Is Telling You…

CNS News posted an article today about the discussions the mainstream media has been having about the Electoral College. Many of the mainstream pundits are convinced (and have tried convincing Americans) that the Electoral College is something we no longer want or need. So how is the public reacting to being told to abolish the Electoral College? We are not impressed.

The article includes the following graph:

electoralcollegeI guess there were a lot of people who were actually happy with the way things worked out!

The article further reports:

In all ten surveys done by Gallup, the greatest support for amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College came in a November 1968, just after that year’s election.

“Support for an amendment peaked at 80% in 1968, after Richard Nixon almost lost the popular vote while winning the Electoral College,” Gallup said in its analysis. “Ultimately, he wound up winning both by a narrow margin, but this issue demonstrated the possibility of a candidate becoming president without winning the popular vote. In the 1976 election, Jimmy Carter faced a similar situation, though he also won the popular vote and Electoral College. In a poll taken weeks after the election, 73% were in favor of an amendment doing away with the Electoral College.”

So much for the media coverage of the Electoral College.

Why We Need The Electoral College

Michael Barone posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about the Electoral College. There has been a lot of discussion about the Electoral College lately because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 Presidential election, but Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote and the election. So how does this work and why do we need it?

First of all, the Founding Fathers put the Electoral College in place to protect the rights of the smaller states.

According to the government website archives.gov, this is how the Electoral College works:

The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators. Read more about the allocation of electoral votes.

Under the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution, the District of Columbia is allocated 3 electors and treated like a state for purposes of the Electoral College. For this reason, in the following discussion, the word “state” also refers to the District of Columbia.

Each candidate running for President in your state has his or her own group of electors. The electors are generally chosen by the candidate’s political party, but state laws vary on how the electors are selected and what their responsibilities are. Read more about the qualifications of the Electors and restrictions on who the Electors may vote for.

The presidential election is held every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. You help choose your state’s electors when you vote for President because when you vote for your candidate you are actually voting for your candidate’s electors.

The article at The Washington Examiner reports:

…All of which prompts renewed arguments about the Electoral College. The case for abolishing it is simple: Every American‘s vote should count the same. But it won’t happen. Two-thirds of each house of Congress and 38 of the 50 state legislatures will never go along.

The case against abolition is one suggested by the Framers’ fears that voters in one large but highly atypical state could impose their will on a contrary-minded nation. That largest state in 1787 was Virginia, home of four of the first five presidents. New York and California, by remaining closely in line with national opinion up through 1996, made the issue moot.

California’s 21st century veer to the left makes it a live issue again. In a popular vote system, the voters of this geographically distant and culturally distinct state, whose contempt for heartland Christians resembles imperial London’s disdain for the “lesser breeds” it governed, could impose something like colonial rule over the rest of the nation. Sounds exactly like what the Framers strove to prevent.

Can you imagine the Presidential campaign without the Electoral College?

This is a county-by-county map of the 2016 Presidential election:

2016countymapelectionHow many of the states would have had a chance to meet the candidates if the Electoral College did not exist? Would Hillary have campaigned in the Midwest? Would Donald Trump have campaigned in Florida? Would a candidate ever come to Kansas, Oklahoma, or Nebraska? Would those states every be represented in a Presidential election? As you can see, the Electoral College protects the rights of the smaller states. Without it, we would be governed by New York, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts–states that are having problems keeping their state budgets under control. Do we really want them to take charge of the country?

 

This Sounds Great, But It Is A Really Bad Idea

The National Review posted an article on Friday stating that if states apportioned their Electoral College votes by district, the Republicans could win the White House in 2016. Thanks, but no thanks.

The article states:

Starting in January, Republicans will hold state legislative majorities and the governor’s mansions in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, and Nevada. If some or all of those states passed laws allocating their electoral votes by districts, all of these purple-to-blue states would allocate their electoral votes in a way that would make it extremely likely for Republicans to win at least half of them. And without half the electoral votes in those states, it would nearly impossible for the Democratic nominee to win.

For example, Barack Obama won Ohio twice, and because he won the popular vote in 2012, won all of the state’s 18 electoral votes. Under the district system, if the Republican presidential nominee wins all of the U.S. House districts in Ohio currently held by the GOP, he would get twelve electoral votes and the Democrat would get only six.

…Any state’s change to this more proportional system would be entirely constitutional. When Barack Obama won one of Nebraska’s electoral votes in 2008, no one on the Democratic side complained.

Although I can understand the logic of this, I think it is a really bad idea to tinker with the Electoral College. For example, without the Electoral College, Rhode Island, Montana, Wyoming, and several other states would never see a Presidential candidate. They would have essentially no voice in national elections. If we begin tinkering with the Electoral College, I suspect it will be the first step on the road to abolishing it. I think that is a really bad idea.