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Mitch McConnell’s long-term strategy of packing the Supreme Court is becoming an obscene reality

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The Supreme Court heard arguments today on the Trump administration’s decision to alter the 2020 Census to ask people if they are American citizens.

In a former life, I argued cases before the Supreme Court. From what I gathered today, it looks as if the five Republican appointees to the Court have already decided this move by Trump is constitutional.

But it’s not. The U.S. Constitution calls for “actual enumeration” of the total population for an explicit purpose:  To count the residents – not just citizens, residents – of every state to properly allocate congressional representatives to the states based on population.

Asking whether someone is a citizen is likely to cause some immigrants — not just non-citizens, but also those with family members or close friends who aren’t citizens — not to respond for fear that they or their loved ones would be deported. In the current climate of fear, this isn’t an irrational response.

The result would be a systemic undercounting of immigrant communities. The Census Bureau has already calculated that it’s likely to result in a 5.1 percent undercount of noncitizen households.

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This would have two grossly unfair results.

In the first place, these communities and the states they’re in would get less federal aid. Census data is used in over 132 programs nationwide to allocate over $675 billion each year.

An undercount would deprive many immigrant communities and their states of the health care, education and assistance they need and are entitled to.

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Secondly, these communities and the states they’re in would have fewer representatives in Congress. The Census count determines the distribution of congressional seats among states. Under the Constitution, these seats depend on the total number of people residing in the state, not just citizens.

Which is the real reason for this move by the Trump administration.

It’s no secret that immigrants with the right to vote tend to vote for Democrats. So undercounting neighborhoods that are heavily Latino or Asian would mean fewer Democratic members of Congress.

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the citizenship question is necessary in order to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Baloney. The Trump administration has shown zero interest in the Voting Rights Act. It has even defended voter suppression laws in court.

This is nothing but a Republican power grab orchestrated by the White House.

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If Chief Justice John Roberts sides with his four Republican colleagues on this, the ruling will be the third in a series of landmark 5-to-4 Roberts Court decisions whose main purpose is to cement Republican control of federal and state governments.

The first and second were “Shelby County in 2013, which gutted the 1965 Civil Rights Act, and last year’s Janus decision, declaring that public employees don’t have to pay union dues.

Mitch McConnell’s long-term strategy of packing the Court in order to entrench the Republican Party is becoming an obscene reality.

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This article was originally published at RobertReich.org


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The media got it wrong: There’s no evidence GOP support for Trump improved after his racist outburst

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One of the most popular articles last week involved claims that polls showed Republicans had increased their support of President Trump.  But a closer analysis of the data reveals that any increase in support was within the margin of error.  So the polls couldn’t conclude that GOP support for President Trump had gone up or down.

Polls are tricky creatures.  We either give them near god-like status, or discount them entirely, often depending on whether they show us what we want.

I remember the movie “Machete,” where an opportunistic Texas politician fakes his own shooting.  Within five minutes of that story breaking, the news anchor reported that the politician had drastically improved his standing in the polls.  Surveys don’t work that way.

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Don’t let this presidential pickpocket use cruel verbal assaults to distract you from the truth

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Every presidential election year, Frontline, the superb investigative TV series on PBS, produces an in-depth look at the Democratic and Republican candidates.It’s called “The Choice,” and invariably offers some insights that likely you won’t see anywhere else.

When I first watched the 2016 edition, three things struck me as revelatory—aside from that now infamous Omarosa Manigault soundbite from the program that began, “Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.” Yikes.

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Paralyzed by the God Emperor: As Democrats dither and bicker, the media gets punk’d again

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Over the past few days — which have felt like a runaway elevator ride into hell — there has been a lot of pointless debate about whether Donald Trump’s vicious, false and hateful attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and the other progressive congresswomen known as “the Squad” will help him or hurt him. I don’t know the answer, but we have to ask ourselves, first of all, what the question means.

This article was originally published at Salon

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