The US Supreme Court’s ruling today against the inclusion of a citizenship question on the US 2020 census is a sneaky way for the Republican right wing majority to have the best of both worlds. For those not following the issue, including those outside the US, the issue was the attempt of the Commerce Department to include a question of whether there were non-citizens living in the household. Studies have shown that this question would suppress the number of people responding in immigrant households. This would suppress the census count in many Democratic areas, especially in big cities.
The Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, was proven to have outright lied in his justification for inclusion of this question. After he testified in a lower court hearing, documents were discovered proving that the issue of suppression of respondents was the real reason. It was therefore impossible for the Supreme Court to maintain any sort of political credibility as the impartial judge over US society if they okayed this question.
The court is divided between four (in)Justices who simply believe in the steamroller approach – simply crush the opposition and damn political consequences – and four who are trying to maintain the basics of capitalist democracy. The ninth – Chief (in)Justice John Roberts – is on the same political side as the steamrollers, but has a slightly more long term view. He is known to believe that the court must maintain its impartial appearance.
So, he joined the “liberal” minority, but with a hitch: His opinion simply said that Ross must come up with a better excuse than the one he has used so far. (Up until now, Ross has claimed that he needs those statistics to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. That is like Donald Trump
jr. saying he shot and killed elephants because he cares about wildlife.) All reports say that while it will be extremely difficult to redo the census questionnaire in time, it’s not impossible. In any case, even if it doesn’t get done in time by 2020, even if it causes chaos, since when has chaos inhibited the Trump administration?
As far as the liberal minority: They, too, have exposed themselves. It’s crystal clear that Ross has committed perjury. Yet nobody, not the court liberals nor any of the liberal Democrats (including Sanders, et al) have even mentioned this no less called for him to be prosecuted for this crime.
An NBC report makes it clear. They write: ‘“It’s almost a toss up, but I think in the end the census question probably will make it on. If the Census Bureau simply says it wants the question on to get a complete count, the Supreme Court will say that’s OK in the coming weeks,” said Tom Goldstein, publisher of the SCOTUSblog website and a lawyer who argues frequently before the court.’
Then Roberts will have his plausible deniability (that the Supreme Court is nothing more than another instrument of the Republican Party far right) and the Republicans will have their further attempt to steamroller capitalist democracy.
The “resistance” cannot succeed simply through capitalist elections nor through court challenges; it’s main avenue at this time lies in the streets. As in the Yellow Vests or the resistance to the open face coal mines in Germany.