Supreme Court Could Ignore Shocking New Evidence Trump Officials Tried to Rig Elections for Whites
Voting-rights activists fighting the government’s attempt to add a census question about citizenship faced a setback Wednesday, when a federal district court postponed any inquiry into new evidence that the question originated with a partisan operative who hoped it would benefit “non-Hispanic whites.”
The case – and the question of what to do about the newly revealed evidence – is now back in the hands of the Supreme Court, which is expected to issue a decision in the next three weeks.
The ACLU, the New York Immigration Coalition, and others had hoped that Judge Jesse Furman would allow expedited discovery in the case. That would enable them to probe for more evidence and potentially question government officials about what they knew and when.
The evidence consists of a trove of documents discovered on the deceased operative’s hard drive and contradicts sworn testimony by government officials who said that they came up with the citizenship question themselves. Exploring that evidence further would likely turn up more damning information, and possibly cause the Supreme Court to pause its own deliberations.
Judge Furman, however, noted that “there’s no urgency on these questions.” That’s because, as a matter of law, they’re only about whether the officials lied or engaged in misconduct. And that has nothing to do with the case itself. Whichever way the Supreme Court rules, the inquiry into potential misconduct can continue regardless.
Judge Furman ordered the plaintiffs to file legal briefs in that inquiry by July 12.
In many ways, though, the cat is already out of the bag. The evidence has been entered into the record and released to the public. And it is truly shocking. It suggests that the purpose of the citizenship question is to redraw congressional districts based on their number of citizens, rather than their total population.
In districts with many (legal) non-citizens living in them, that would mean less congressional representation. Departing from 200 years of American tradition, it would replace “one person, one vote” with “one citizen, one vote.” It would transform democracy in America to the detriment of immigrants, their families and communities, who are overwhelmingly people of color.
As the activists put it in a brief filed with the district court, “damning new evidence reveals hyper-partisan and racially discriminatory motives at the root of the citizenship question.”
It’s impossible to un-see that.
Now the question is whether the Supreme Court will take it into account.
Legally speaking, the evidence is relevant because one of the activists’ claims is that the government violated the Administrative Procedure Act by conducting a sham public process when they had already made up their minds to add the citizenship question for political reasons. The new documents support that argument.