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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.

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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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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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Commentary

Trump has lived the life of a crook and will die a crook

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One is normal people have something better to do—kids, school, jobs, good health, etc.—than pay attention to politics. Another is that you can’t know what you don’t know until you know it. Then there’s this from the ever-pragmatic Dr. Samuel Johnson: “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”

This article was originally published at The Editorial Board

So today I’m reminding you that lots of people do not, or will not, understand what corruption is, especially if they profit from it. But profit isn’t the only blinding force.

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Commentary

Trump and his family are brazenly selling out America in Syria and beyond

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The most xenophobic and isolationist American president in modern history has been selling America to foreign powers for his personal benefit. That’s an impeachable offense.

President Donald Trump says he withdrew American troops from the Syrian-Turkish border—leaving our Kurdish allies to be slaughtered and opening the way for a resurgent ISIS—because it was time to bring American soldiers home.

A more likely explanation is that the Trump Towers Istanbul is the Trump Organization’s first and only office and residential building in Europe. Businesses linked to the Turkish government are also major patrons of the Trump Organization. Hence, Trump has repeatedly sided with Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been intent on eliminating Kurds.

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