George Will: Supreme Court mulls citizenship question for census

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  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 23, 2019 4:04 p.m.

    There are fine and credible arguments on both sides about whether congressional seats should be apportioned for all residents, only for legal residents, or only for citizens.

    The words "person, persons, and people" are used many times in the constitution and amendments. At various places it is clear those words refer only to citizens: voters, members of congress. In other places, they refer to a wider body including when protections are offered for those accused of crimes. Even illegal aliens are entitled to due process.

    I don't claim to know what was intended on either the original census, nor the post 14th amd census. I believe the question of who is entitled to representation in the House is crucial.

    I also believe that Presidential authority to add or remove questions on the census, under existing laws governing the census are also important.

    I think partisan driven outcomes such as who might be less likely to answer and which party might be hurt are not important. Libertarians and conservatives have long chaffed at what they considered extensive, intrusive questions on the census. Nobody seemed to care whether they were accurately counted or not.

  • GrainOfSalt Draper, UT
    April 22, 2019 11:20 p.m.

    It is always easy to cherry pick arguments that you agree with. As I stated earlier, there are good arguments to be had both for and against the citizenship question, regardless of how Mr. Ross presented it. It doesn't change the fact that the administration technically has the authority to make the change, which is why this is in court to begin with.

    Personally, I think the question should be asked, but I'm open to hear a reasoned argument, not the vitriol that comes from Mr. Will. This is not a new debate, just because Trump raised the issue. It is unfortunate that so many of our commentators have to vilify, denigrate and humiliate in their efforts to make their point--and Trump is guilty of this as well. Whether or not I'm a Republican or a Trump supporter is beside the point. Please present a well reasoned, rational argument for and against. I don't even care if it is somewhat biased, but at least give me something to think about. The name calling is childish and Mr. Will, right or not, loses the argument when presented this way.

  • TheJester American Fork, UT
    April 22, 2019 1:38 p.m.


    Why would Mr. Will be compelled to present "a slice of the other side of the argument"?

    He simply had to use words directly from the judge presiding over this case and pose a simple question that any objective observer would understand: If the citizenship question is, as the Trump administration insists, "a wholly unremarkable demographic question." Why, then, was Ross so dishonest concerning its genesis?

    We all know the answer. My guess is that you are a Republican and Trump supporter, so the ends (greater congressional representation for majority white non-urban areas) justifies the means (a material misrepresentation of the actual count of "all persons").

  • J in the Desert Maricopa, AZ
    April 22, 2019 1:04 p.m.

    Perhaps a pilot test of the 2020 questionnaire could be performed to actually quantify any drop in the response rate. Send out say, 20,000 questionnaires with only 10,000 containing the citizenship question. Send them to two demographically similar cities and see what happens.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2019 7:42 p.m.

    Perhaps a Constitutional amendment to do away with a census should be passed. Sounds like the census is not accurate in any event. And the rationale for the census is arguably no longer valid. At the founding of this country, there wasn't the huge government welfare services we now have. Representatives in Congress should be based upon the number of citizens, not on every person actually in the country. Why should it be otherwise ? If there is no distinction between citizen and non-citizen, how can good evaluations and assessments be made ? Let commercial interests make their surveys. Save taxpayer money and everybody heartburn.

  • GrainOfSalt Draper, UT
    April 21, 2019 1:42 p.m.

    Ah, yes, another scathing opinion from Mr. Will, who hates all things Trump. It will be interesting top hear what the Supreme Court has to say, without the accompanying diatribe. The is a strong case to be made for and against the citizenship question, which is what makes this case particularly interesting. Unfortunately Mr. Will is so consumed in his dislike of Trump that he fails to present even a slice of the other side of the argument. It is unfortunate.