The Week: “The creator of the Ugly Gerry typeface doesn’t identify themself on the Ugly Gerry website or Twitter feed. But they did blatantly call out the congressmembers representing those districts in tweets of each letter, and call on readers to ‘use the font to tell Congress how happy you are that your vote doesn’t matter.'”
“Republicans are suing to stop Michigan’s new citizen redistricting commission before it begins, alleging the voter-approved amendment is ‘blatantly unconstitutional’ and discriminates against participants based on political service or family ties,” the Detroit News reports.
“The amendment to the Michigan Constitution prohibits participation by anyone who in the last six years was a partisan candidate, elected official, political appointee, lobbyist, campaign consultant and officer or member of the governing body of a political party. It also excludes a parent, child or spouse of any of those individuals.”
Wisconsin Examiner: “Now Democrats and fair-maps advocates are worried that Republicans might make an end-run around Evers by means of a joint resolution, passing a new map through the Assembly and Senate. Because joint resolutions do not require the governor’s signature, the map could go into effect without any input from the governor.”
“The Trump administration has few realistic options to get a citizenship question onto next year’s census, but by keeping the issue in the public eye it could still trigger an undercount of residents in Democratic-leaning areas,” Reuters reports.
“Constant media coverage linking citizenship and census forms could scare undocumented immigrants away from responding and rally U.S. President Donald Trump’s base to participate, they said. That, in turn, would help redraw voting districts across the country in favor of his Republican party, encouraging the president to pursue a legal battle that he has little chance of winning.”
Washington Post: The Trump administration has changed its story on the census citizenship question at least 10 times in four months.
“President Trump just explained why he thinks we need a citizenship question on the census. But in doing so, he seems to have said the quiet part out loud — and conceivably could have undercut the Justice Department’s legal case,” the Washington Post reports.
Said Trump: “No. 1, you need it for Congress — you need it for Congress for districting. You need it for appropriations — where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons.”
“Take note of that first one. Not only was a redistricting rationale not mentioned by the administration in its failed legal defense of the question; it was actually something that the other side argued was the administration’s true motivation. The plaintiffs in the case — and many who oppose the citizenship question — have argued that this is a thinly veiled attempt by Republicans to gain a potential game-changing tool in redistricting.”
New York Times: “While much of the country’s attention is focused on presidential politics, the gerrymandering ruling last week instantly raised the stakes for the nation’s state legislative races, which are often overlooked by voters, but can shape the course of policy from abortion rights to education.”
“Yet this cycle of legislative elections carries added significance: In most states, the political party that wins control of the legislature gains the power to draw once-a-decade maps setting district boundaries for state and congressional elections after a new census count. Acutely aware of that prize, which offers a chance to tilt political power further in one party’s favor, Republicans and Democrats are starting campaigns early, knocking on doors and rallying donors with the pitch that a tiny statehouse election in suburban Dallas or coastal Virginia could have national reverberations.”
Vox: Inside the battle to flip America’s state legislatures blue in 2020.
“The Justice Department said Wednesday that the government is looking for a way to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, just one day after it said it would drop that effort and was printing the form without it,” the Washington Post reports
}The course reversal came just hours after President Trump said he was ‘absolutely moving forward’ with adding the question, in a tweet that seemed to catch government lawyers off guard as they were summoned by two federal judges to explain the administration’s change of heart.”
“The Trump administration said Tuesday that it would be printing forms for the 2020 census without a question asking about citizenship, abandoning its quest to add the query after being blocked last week by the Supreme Court,” the New York Times reports.
“The decision is a victory for critics who said the question was part of an administration effort to skew the census results in favor of Republicans.”
Kevin Drum: “It seems like we don’t get good news very often these days. It’s nice to finally hear some.”
Rick Hasen: “The Supreme Court decision on Thursday in Rucho v. Common Cause purports to take federal courts out of the business of policingpartisan gerrymanders and leave the issue for states to handle.”
“But the decision will instead push federal courts further into the political thicket, and, in states with substantial minority voter populations, force courts to make logically impossible determinations about whether racial reasons or partisan motives predominate when a party gerrymanders for political advantage. It didn’t have to be this way.”
Former Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Zach Wamp (R-TN) write in The Atlantic:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution doesn’t bar even extreme partisan gerrymandering is the worst election-related decision since Citizens United, which in 2010 opened the floodgates for corporate money in campaigns. The Court just stacked the deck in favor of parties over voters—and laid the groundwork for yet more polarization.”
“President Trump said Thursday that he is seeking to delay the constitutionally mandated census to give administration officials more time to come up with a better explanation for why it should include a citizenship question,” the Washington Post reports.
“Trump’s announcement, in a tweet sent from Japan, came hours after the Supreme Court put on hold his administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, saying it had provided a ‘contrived’ reason for wanting the information.”
A federal judge says new evidence paints a “disturbing picture” that racial discrimination may be the motive behind the Trump administration’s push to ask everyone in the country about citizenship status, the AP reports.
Said U.S. District Judge George Hazel: “It is becoming difficult to avoid seeing that which is increasingly clear. As more puzzle pieces are placed on the mat, a disturbing picture of the decisionmakers’ motives takes shape.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court could soon render Hazel’s decision moot. The country’s highest court is expected to decide this week whether the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.”
“A federal district judge in Maryland on Wednesday ruled that new evidence in the case of a census citizenship question merits additional consideration, opening the door for plaintiffs’ lawyers to request that an appeals court return the case to him,” the Washington Post reports.
“Civil rights groups who had sued the government over its addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census had asked U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel to reconsider his ruling on whether the government was guilty of conspiracy and intent to discriminate after new evidence in the case emerged last month. Files discovered on hard drives of a deceased Republican redistricting strategist suggested he had communicated with the Trump administration about how to get the citizenship question onto the survey and that the strategist had determined that adding the question would create an electoral advantage for Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”
NPR: “The latest development in the legal battle over the hotly contested question could complicate the Census Bureau’s plans to finalize census questionnaires and start printing paper forms for the national head count by July 1.”
FiveThirtyEight: “In a matter of days, the Supreme Court may dramatically change the census. The court is slated to rule on whether the Trump administration can add a question about citizenship to the 2020 form. When the case was argued back in April, many court-watchers predicted that the court’s five conservative justices were ready to side with the administration.”
“There are few things we care more about around here than political apportionment (although, if we’re being honest, we care an awful lot about groceries, too). So we went in search of researchers who had estimated the potential effect of the citizenship question. We found several, none of whom agreed on just how big an impact this would have.”
“California loses at least one seat in all five scenarios, while Montana stands to gain one. Ohio, Minnesota and Alabama are all potential winners, depending on the scenario, while Texas, Arizona and Florida come out on the losing side in at least one estimate.”
NPR: “Challenges threatening the upcoming 2020 census could risk more than 4 million people to be missing from next year’s national head count.”
“Nationally, black residents could be undercounted by as much as 3.68 percent…. The Urban Institute also projects as many as 2.2 million (3.57 percent) Latinos and Latinas around the U.S. could be left out of the 2020 census. Children under the age of 5 — another hard-to-count group — also face an undercount as high as 6.31 percent, or about 1.3 million young children.”
“Thomas Hofeller achieved near-mythic status in the Republican Party as the Michelangelo of gerrymandering, the architect of partisan political maps that cemented the party’s dominance across the country,” the New York Times reports.
“But after he died last summer, his estranged daughter discovered hard drives in her father’s home that revealed something else: Mr. Hofeller had played a crucial role in the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.”
“Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats… The disclosures represent the most explicit evidence to date that the Trump administration added the question to the 2020 census to advance Republican Party interests.”
“The Supreme Court on Friday blocked lower court rulings ordering Republican legislators in Michigan and Ohio to redraw U.S. congressional maps ahead of the 2020 elections, dealing a blow to Democrats who had argued that the electoral districts were intended to unlawfully diminish their political clout,” Reuters reports.
“The justices granted requests from Republican lawmakers in both states to put those decisions on hold, halting further action in the cases and the need to rework electoral district boundaries. The justices did not provide any explanation for their brief orders.”
“A federal court on Friday tossed out Ohio’s congressional map, ruling that Republican state lawmakers had carved up the state to give themselves an illegal partisan advantage and to dilute Democrats’ votes in a way that predetermined the outcome of elections,” the New York Times reports.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: “This is the latest in a series of decisions across the country striking down partisan maps, including in neighboring Michigan and Pennsylvania. Plus, U.S. Supreme Court rulings are pending for cases out of North Carolina and Maryland.”