The Trump Administration’s plans to add a citizenship-related question to the 2020 U.S. Census were halted when the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, temporarily blocked such a question from the Census. And the Trump Administration is now hoping that the question will be added if it can convince Roberts that such a question is justified. But conservative Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin stresses in a new column that the issue remains legally problematic for the president.
“President Trump seems to think that by invoking ‘executive order,’ he can make his legal problem disappear,” Rubin declares. “Wrong. The Supreme Court disallowed the question for now and sent it back for the ‘real reason’ for including the question. He cannot shout ‘executive order!’ and cure his legal problem.”
Ian Bassin, executive director of Protect Democracy and one of the people Rubin interviewed for her column, asserts that Trump’s reason for wanting a citizenship question is painfully obvious: he wants to benefit white voters at the expense of non-white voters.
“There’s a term for trying to create a structural political advantage for ‘Republicans and non-Hispanic whites,’ and that term is ‘white power,’” Bassin told Rubin. “And we now know that’s been the purpose all along for adding a citizenship question to the Census.”
Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor, told Rubin that the Trump Administration has been totally disingenuous about its motivation for wanting to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
“The Trump Administration lied to the courts about the real reason for the citizenship question, and they got caught by the Supreme Court,” Rocah told Rubin. “Now, Trump has directed DOJ lawyers to come up with some other lie. No DOJ lawyer should sacrifice her integrity with the courts for this or any administration.”
Rubin also spoke to Joyce White Vance, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at the University of Alabama and is a legal analyst for MSNBC. According to Vance, Justice Department officials will make themselves look bad if they try to help Trump find a bogus justification for a citizenship question.
“There are some things no DOJ lawyer can do,” Vance told Rubin. “One of those is make arguments in court that are untrue in order to benefit the political whims of a president. If DOJ’s leadership, the (attorney general), the deputy AG, the solicitor general and the head of the Civil Division (don’t want to be) complicit in violating the duty of candor DOJ lawyers owe to the Court, then they should resign on principle and in protest.”
Rubin wraps up her column with a quote from Tribe, who asserts that Trump’s desire to deceive the public about his reasons for wanting a citizenship question is yet another reason why he deserves impeachment.
Tribe told Rubin, “To refrain from promptly beginning formal impeachment proceedings against a president who conducts his office in this chaotically lawless manner, on top of everything else he has done, would be an abdication of constitutional responsibility.”