How To Rig The Census For Fun And Profit And White Supremacy

People who were paying attention already knew that Trump's attempt to add a citizenship question to the Census was a racist attempt to rig future elections. Now we have written proof.

Court documents filed last Thursday showed definitively what most of us already knew: This plot was concocted to help rig future elections for, to quote the architect of the plan, "Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites."

Is you takin' notes on a criminal fuckin' conspiracy?

Criminal Conspiracy

Here's how this all happened. This old white guy, Thomas Hofeller, came up with the idea to ask about citizenship status during next year's Census. Then he put together a study outlining how it could be used to hurt Democrats, help Republicans, and disenfranchise immigrant and non-white communities. He also came up with a bunch of arguments the Trump regime could use in court to defend the question. He passed all of this along to the assholes currently occupying the executive branch of our government, who moved to add the question to the Census. In Hofeller's words, adding a citizenship question to the Census "would be advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites," "would clearly be a disadvantage for the Democrats," and would "provoke a high degree of resistance from Democrats and the major minority groups in the nation." Hofeller was also helpful enough to provide an analysis of how Republicans could use the Census to decrease representation of racial minorities and increase representation of white, non-Hispanic Republicans.

Here's how the plaintiffs summarized the new evidence in a letter to Southern District of New York Judge Jesse Furman, one of the three federal judges who ruled against the citizenship question.

Yeah, that's the lawyer way of saying, "Hey Judge, these motherfuckers over here were both evil enough to do a bunch of illegal, discriminatory things and dumb enough to leave a paper trail." ACLU lawyer Dale Ho has written to the Supremes to advise the Court of the new findings, just in case they hadn't heard.

The way this new evidence of carefully plotted racism came to light is like something out of a John Grisham novel.

Thomas Hofeller, the old white guy who engineered this whole racist plot, was a top right-wing manipulator who helped design such glorious gerrymandered maps as the one in North Carolina that a federal court declared was intentionally racist.

Hofeller died last August. He had a daughter, Stephanie, whom he hadn't spoken to in years. (I don't know about you, but I, for one, am shocked that such an upstanding gentleman would alienate his daughter. Treating women and girls with respect is what Republicans are known for the world over.)

Anyway, Stephanie randomly found out her dad had died after googling his name and she went home to go through his things. One of the things Stephanie found was a baggie full of thumb drives and external hard drives. They mostly contained personal files, but also happened to include evidence of a Republican scheme to fuck over democracy.

After coming across some of the documents, Stephanie was working with lawyers at nonprofit Common Cause on another issue and mentioned what she had found to them. Common Cause just happens to be challenging both the racially gerrymandered North Carolina legislative districts drawn by Stephanie's dad and the Census citizenship question.

After learning this crazy story, I was curious about who this Stephanie person was and what she thought of her dad. Here's what she told the New York Times:

Ms. Hofeller said her decision to open her father's files to his opponents was a bid for transparency, devoid of personal or political animus. Although she believed he was undermining American democracy, she said, their estrangement stemmed not from partisan differences, but a family dispute that ended up in court. Ms. Hofeller described herself as a political progressive who despises Republican partisanship, but also has scant respect for Democrats.

Her father, she said, was a brilliant cartographer who was deeply committed to traditional conservative principles like free will and limited government. As a child, she said, she was schooled in those same principles, but every successive gerrymandered map he created only solidified her conviction that he had abandoned them in a quest to entrench his party in permanent control.

SCOTUS heard arguments on the appeal in April and appeared ready at that point to pretend that this was totally not politically or racially motivated.

Just for the record, none of this is normal. Most litigants have nary a hope of getting the Supreme Court to hear their case; this issue was expected to go to the Supreme Court from day one. Most cases have multiple levels of review before they get to SCOTUS; this went straight from the District Court to the highest court in the land. And most cases (outside of those existing solely within the pages of legal thrillers) don't have smoking gun evidence that comes out at the eleventh hour; this one does.

What remains to be seen is how, or whether, this new revelation will affect the Supreme Court's decision. If we lived in a world — or country — where facts mattered and justice prevailed, there would be no way the Supreme Court could allow the citizenship question after this. But Kegs Kavanaugh is a Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch has Merrick Garland's seat, the Muslim Ban is law, and Donald Fucking Trump is still President.

If time weren't a factor, SCOTUS would probably remand the case back down to the lower courts, for additional fact-finding and legal analysis. But because the Census Bureau has to start getting ready to start counting people next January, the Court has to decide this case by the end of June.

Voting rights experts, including Loyola Law School Professor Jessica Levinson and UC Irvine Professor Rick Hasen, are already predicting the Supreme Court will continue to act as a political branch of the Trump government and let the citizenship question stand.

Even the establishment-loving New York Times is asking whether the Court's legitimacy will survive if this case goes for the fascists.

So what happens now?

Now, we wait.

Judge Furman is holding a hearing in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon. And so far, the Supreme Court has been silent on the matter.

Right now, it's hard to see how this is all going to end. But, whatever happens, the entire country now has hard proof that a political party tried to use the Census as a weapon against people of color, in an attempt to solidify their white supremacist, right-wing rule.

Blessed be the fruit!

[NYT / ACLU letter to Judge Furman / WaPo / NYT]

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Jamie Lynn Crofts
Jamie Lynn Crofts is sick of your bullshit. When she’s not wrangling cats, she’s probably writing about nerdy legal stuff, rocking out at karaoke, or tweeting about god knows what. Jamie would kindly like to remind everyone that it’s perfectly legal to tell Bob Murray to eat shit.

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