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How the DOJ just asked the Supreme Court to essentially become a ‘branch of the Trump administration’

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- Commentary

With the fate of the nation’s electoral maps — and thus the very basis of democracy — hanging in the balance, the Supreme Court is poised to rule on the controversial Census case. But at the last minute, Justice Department Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote new a new plea to the justices asking them to take an even more extraordinary step than simply ruling on the issue before them.

Indeed, law professor Richard Hasen wrote in Slate on Tuesday that if the court goes along with Francisco’s request, it will essentially act as a part of the Trump administration.

The controversy arose when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decided to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census, which experts believe will reduce compliance with the survey in ways that benefit Republicans and white people electorally. The Justice Department claimed that it had asked Ross to include the question to protect the Voting Rights Act, but critics argued that this was a mere pretext and that the real purpose was to distort the Census results.

Now, more evidence has emerged that not only was the excuse for including the question a pretext but that the Commerce Department was actively working with a GOP operative whose goal was to create maps “advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites.” In light of this new evidence, a lower federal court has sent a separate case challenging the Census question back to a trial court. It’s this case that Francisco wants the Supreme Court to weigh in on, even though doing so would be an extraordinary breach, according to Hasen.

“This is outrageous,” Hasen wrote. “The issue has not been fully briefed. It was not the subject of oral argument. It involves evidence for which there has been no fact-finding. For the Supreme Court to decide the issue on this basis is the definition of lawlessness. It is not how the Supreme Court normally does business, and the solicitor general should know better. If the court starts doing this it becomes no more than a branch of the Trump administration.”

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He compared the case to the court’s Bush v. Gore decision, which ultimately handed the 2000 presidential election to Republican George W. Bush instead of Democrat Al Gore. That was an extraordinarily consequential decision on its own for many reasons, not least of which is that Bush went on to nominate two Supreme Court justices — John Roberts and Sam Alito — who could be key votes in the Census case.

But the Census decision could be even more wide-reaching than a single presidential election. The Census is used to determine maps for elections across the country, and its data is used for countless other important purposes. Intentionally distorting its results could have drastic unforeseen consequences.

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How Tucker Carlson’s quest to ‘trigger the libs’ mainstreamed ‘unfettered white nationalism’

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Fox News is America's most watched cable news network. But at least with respect to its prime-time commentary programs, Fox News is not "news" at all, but a right-wing propaganda machine that has helped to fracture American politics by undermining the shared sense of empirical reality necessary for a healthy democracy.

This article was originally published at Salon

Fox News is both a mouthpiece for President Trump and a mechanism for implanting ideas and voices in Trump's head. Trump then repeats these ideas and parrots the voices, sometimes word for word, believing they are his own.

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Republicans will never say that racism is ‘racism’ — basically because they’re racist

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Is there any expression of racism that Republicans will actually admit is racism? It's a question on a lot of progressive minds in the wake of Donald Trump demonizing female congresswomen of color with the "go back" canard that white nationalists and other assorted racists have long used to abuse anyone with heritage they dislike, whether that heritage is Jewish, Irish, Italian, African, Latin American or Muslim. Telling someone to "go back" is, in the ranks of racist statements, right up there with calling a person the N-word or some other rank slur. Yet, there still appears to be resistance among Republicans to admitting that is racism, which leads many on the left to wonder: If this doesn't count, then what could possibly count?

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Rand Paul just blocked the 9/11 victim fund because it isn’t paid for — but didn’t care when it was a $1.5 trillion tax cut

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked a call for unanimous consent on Wednesday to push forward with a funding extension for the victims of 9/11, claiming that the new spending should be paid for.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called for the bill to be passed in the Senate by unanimous consent, but even a single lawmaker’s objection can block the move and slow down the process. The measure is still widely expected to pass, but Paul wants to use the opportunity to complain about the national debt.

“We need to address our massive debt in this country,” he said “We have a $22 trillion debt. We’re adding debt at about a trillion dollars a year. And therefore any new spending that we are approaching, any new program that’s going to have the longevity of 70-80 years, should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to at least have this debate.”

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