When the bureau asked for public comment on the new question, moreover, almost no one came forward to support it.
Thus, Furman concluded, the department used improper procedures to reach the decision—and the decision itself, far from being “necessary,” will make the census less valuable and accurate.
The census questionnaire is just one of the ways the bureau gathers information; the others involve consulting records of other state and federal agencies and summarizing or extrapolating figures from them. District Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York, that wasn’t legal.
Because the questionnaire is so intrusive, the act provides that the bureau should prefer gathering data from these other sources, and should gather only “necessary” information from the questionnaire. Anderson, in noted that leaders from George Washington on have agreed that “any changes in census questions or calls for additional data would be evaluated in terms of the potential loss in accuracy and timeliness of the basic apportionment data.”This takes us to March 2018, when Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross directed the bureau to add a citizenship question to the census questionnaire. After a three-week-long trial, Furman in January concluded, first, that the question was rushed onto the questionnaire in a hasty power play by Trump appointees, who did not properly notify Congress of their intention and then provided the court with a misleading explanation of the procedures used to develop the question; and, second, that statistical authorities, most particularly the Census Bureau’s experts, agree that the question will make the census reliable.
” Written by multiple committees, often in haste, important statutes can be impenetrable, tail-swallowing word salads that daunt even judges. ” the late Justice Antonin Scalia once snapped at a lawyer who suggested the Court read the entire Affordable Care Act.
“You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages? That’s because agencies are “creatures of statute”; no agency has any power not specifically given to it by statute.
Maybe, but the administration hasn’t made a serious effort to cite them. As we have seen, the claim that the Justice Department wanted the question was a lie.
Beyond that, when the Commerce Department sent its draft questionnaire to Congress, it stated that the citizenship question had been on the questionnaire from “1890 to present”—not only a lie but a clumsy one.
Homeland Security rebuffed them; so, at first, did the Department of Justice—until Ross had a series of meetings with top officials, including then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
At that point, DOJ submitted a letter stating that the question would help it enforce the Voting Rights Act.