Lack of Consensus: Trump Calls Announcement Of His Own Agencies On Census Question “Fake”

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedThere certainly seems to be a lack of consensus in the Trump Administration over the census question.  Yesterday both the Commerce Department and the Justice Department confirmed that the Administration would drop the controversial census question over undocumented status after the stinging defeat before the Supreme Court. Even conservative justices threw up their hands by the lack of foundation laid by the Trump Administration on the need or rationale for the question. Now there is utter confusion as the President insists that this Administration will litigate the issue again.

The Supreme Court case was another example of the Administration snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory due to a lack of competent work in laying a foundation for review.  There were clearly five justice inclined to recognize the authority to include the question. The Administration simply had to satisfy minimal requirements for a record on appeal.  Instead, they litigated a position that can only charitably be described as so casual as to be virtually conversational.

When the agencies threw in the towel, it made sense since the Administration was facing potentially embarrassing new discovery that might show a political motivation for the addition of the question. The government is also running out of runway to get this census off the ground.  Nevertheless, the Justice Department has announced that it will now litigate the question — contradicting statements of its own counsel.

Joshua Gardner Special Counsel to the Justice Department issued a surprising statement that basically declared utter confusion and chaos:

“The tweet this morning was the first I had heard of the president’s position on this issue, just like the plaintiffs and Your Honor. I do not have a deeper understanding of what that means at this juncture other than what the president has tweeted. But, obviously, as you can imagine, I am doing my absolute best to figure out what’s going on.”

The Justice Department not surprisingly will follow the direction of the President on litigating the issue. However, this is yet another embarrassing moment for an Administration that has had a series of missteps in court.

35 thoughts on “Lack of Consensus: Trump Calls Announcement Of His Own Agencies On Census Question “Fake””

  1. Thomas identified the crux of the problem with the SCOTUS decision in his dissent.

    “The Court’s holding reflects an unprecedented departure from our deferential review of discretionary agency decisions. And, if taken seriously as a rule of decision, this holding would transform administrative law …

    the Court has opened a Pandora’s box …

    For the first time ever the Court invalidates an agency action solely because it questions the sincerity of the agency’s otherwise adequate rationale … Unable to identify any legal problem with the Secretary’s reasoning the Court imputes one by concluding that he must not be telling the truth …

    the Secretary’s decision plainly falls within the scope of the Secretary’s constitutional authority, does not implicate any statutory prohibition, and is among the ‘inquiries’ and ‘content[s]’ of the census that the Secretary is expressly directed to ‘determine’ for himself …

    Prior census questionnaires have included questions ranging from sex, age, and race to commute, education, and radio ownership. And between 1820 and 2010, every decennial census questionnaire but one asked some segment of the population a question related to citizenship. The 2010 census was the first since 1840 that did not include any such question.”

    Alito dissent added:

    “The United Nations recommends that a census inquire about citizenship …

    [Thomas Jefferson in 1800] signed a letter to Congress asking for the inclusion on the census of questions [regarding] the respective numbers of native citizens, citizens of foreign birth, and of aliens … for the purpose … of more exactly distinguishing the increase of population by birth and immigration …

    this Court has never before encountered a direct challenge to a census question. And litigation in the lower courts about the census is sparse and generally of relatively recent vintage …

    [SCOTUS] set a dangerous precedent, both with regard to the census itself and with regard to judicial review of all other executive agency actions … If this case is taken as a model, then any one of the approximately 1,000 district court judges in this country, upon receiving information that a controversial agency decision might have been motivated by some unstated consideration, may order the questioning of Cabinet officers and other high-ranking Executive Branch officials, and the judge may then pass judgment …

    To put the point bluntly the Federal Judiciary has no authority to stick its nose into the question whether it is good policy to include a citizenship question on the census or whether the reasons given by Secretary Ross for that decision were his only reasons or his real reasons. The Secretary is also accountable to Congress with respect to the administration of the census since he has that power only because Congress has found it appropriate to entrust it to him.”

    Thomas and Alito make a strong case that the Roberts court has made a critical error in adjudicating this case and hopefully DOJ will find a way to right this wrong.

    1. Olesmithy gets it. From a NY Times article–Feb 5, 2017 I add–

      “A key part of immigration law does give the president broad power. It says, “Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

      So that should answer whether or not Mr. T has authority regarding immigration.

      The citizenship question? It’s OBVIOUSLY legal. It’s been on the census questionnaire MANY times, so why is illegal now but legal then? 0bama had the Q on censuses in it’s administration. But now that 0 is out, thank God, suddenly Mr. T is not able to have it on the next census.

      Reminds me of the Nike flag shoe jive. 0bama had two 13 star flags at both it’s inaugurations, but C craperneck says “I’m offended!” Hmmmm…funny odd how stuff the dimm leftist libs do is just fine & dandy. But if Mr.T or someone else does the same thing…we get this song & dance from the crybaby control freaks.

      Like I say, if it were not for DOUBLE STANDARDS the fascist left would have none. There is NO IRON IN THEIR WORDS!!!


      😉 Caps for emphasis, not shouting.

      1. Laws are not the Constitution, and the Constitution gives Congress All Legislative Authority to make and interpret their own laws, the President must take care to faithfully execute those laws, which means if he does not fully understand the intentions of Congress, then he must consult the Branch of Congress which initiated the law or treaty, for their consideration, then write an Executive order to clarify Congress’s intentions to the appropriate executive department empowered to implement the law!

        No statute can change the distribution of power from Congress to the President for any reason, such a change would require a Constitutional Amendment, but it still may be improper in that case if it violates a fundamental Constitutional Principle related to the basic structure and distribution of power of the States as the Union.

        I know that I sound like a broken record, but the Union is the Governing Authority in our republican Government System, Not The President, and Definitely Not Parties!

    2. Congress is supposed to be creating, staffing, determining the purpose of, and directing the functions and actions of all Executive Departments, as they all work for the Union and together they form the Executive functions that the President manages, but the President does not Direct them, for direction he too needs to consult the appropriate branch of Congress which the Executive department is acting under for their consideration even if he must convene them for that purpose if they are at recess.

      For a blog of a Constitutional Law Professor, there seems little understanding of the Constitution itself preferring to rely on decisions made to interpret, or misconstrue, the true meaning of the Constitution instead.


    The administration has fumbled this issue so badly that Justice Department lawyers were eager to move on from it. Then yesterday Trump sent a tweet saying he hadn’t given up on the Citizenship Question. It was another case of Trump thinking he can rule by tweet. No one in his administration knows how Trump expects to get this question on the Census Form before its print deadline. Trump has them all stumped.

    And one should note that our usual Trump supporters have basically ignored this column. It all sounds ridiculous even for Trump.

    1. Hill–Please show where the Constitution gives any court any power over the census.

      What is ridiculous is that the dimms are playing games with the US border. Meanwhile, their welfare incentives & crap immigration laws continue to get illegals killed, trafficked &/or raped. Then there are the Angel Families who have dead relatives all over the place and cartels are free to bring drugs in to the country. The dimms & RINOs could fix the border, but they are twirling on their thumbs while people die for dim & RINO selfish special interests.

      Dims want open borders so they can get illegals IN so the dimm obstructionists can build an insurmountable voting block. RINOs want cheap labor & both chapters of the Benedict Iscariot Club are giving the bird to the US citizen.

      If we allow the dimms to get illegals the vote, they will continue adding more chapters to the Cloward & Piven book, Strategy, so the dimm power freaks can continue the take down of the USA. Mr. Trump is doing all he can, but there is soooo much obstruction…not to mention fake stream media, the propaganda ministry for the fascist left.


      1. Where in the Constitution is the Governing or Legislative process a Bipartisan Consensus between our two major factions? That’s the answer to all your Dems verses Repubs diatribe.

        Congress is an Assembly of the States, the United States, in Congress Assembled, The Union which makes our Country the United States of America!

        Parties are not invited to participate in Congress, persons affiliated with political parties must participate through their State’s just like everyone else, no exceptions.

        Changing the Constitution to include parties through amendment or Congressional Statute is one of the only things that the Constitution does not allow because it is rigidly structured around the States as Members of Congress as they are the Members of the Union, this gives the States as the Union unalterable Governing Authority in our Country, Not The President, and Definitely Not Parties.

    2. Well, yesterday was a Holiday. I don’t know if it’s celebrated in Hollyweird or not, but it is in fact a national Holiday.
      That may explain Hollywood Hill’s observation about the lack of comments from “Trumpers”.
      But it looks like he and Natacha were right on the ball🙄in getting their comments posted.

        1. Well, I hope you stick around, Federalist. I don’t think I’ve ever seen funnier interpretations of the Constitution, and that’s saying something.
          Anyone that far out there provides welcome comic relief.

          1. I’m glad that I can be of some service to you. Too bad there is no hope of educating you even through flash cards and comic reenactments! Cliff Notes seem to be your only source of information.

            1. You should pace yourself, Federalist.
              It must be difficult enough being the resident whackadoodle interpreter of the Constitution, but now you’re taking on the added burden of giving stupid, unsolicited advice about exchanges that have nothing to do with you.

              1. You have issues, I know that much, but you are only a minor irritant! Your insignificance, along with you lack of true knowledge entertain me. What’s more entertaining is that others tolerate your belligerent approach to discourse should be a reason for all to ostracize you!

                1. I can get belligerent when a jackass like Federalist starts up an unsolicited advice column in addition to his lunatic comments indicating that he and he alone understands the Constitution. Since he chose to double-down on his moronic comments, he can expect to get some flack for that.

                  1. I’m calling for “all to ostracize” Federalist.😄😃😂🤣

                    1. Thank you, I would appreciate it if you and your ilk ignored my comments! I’m not soliciting a response from you, especially when they lacks any forethought or Constitutional basis.

                      You have no capacity to understand my comments or respond in an informed manner. That’s as much as I will allow myself to say in a response to you!

              2. Just to directly respond to your attack, I don’t even try to interpret the Constitution, I rely on Hamilton, Madison, and Jay to elucidate what and why the wrote in the Constitution and for what purpose. Sorry but I’ll take their word over yours or any Constitutional experts you can drag up to misquote and misconstrue their interpretations!

                Why else would I have named my site Federalist Papers Revisited, I’m using their explanations, not my own.

                Learn to read for yourself, it’s a learned skill!

                1. I have no problem ignoring your comments, Federalist. After reading the first batch of comments posted by you, I found you to be as “scrollable” as a few other head cases we’ve had show up here.
                  When you selectively decide to dispense stupid advice to me directly, and I see that stupid advice right below one of my comments, then I’ll give you the response you deserve.
                  And I do my own “ostrasizing”, outside of jokingly repeating your call for “all’ to ostracize me.

                  1. I think ‘federalistpapers’ is actually a bot generated by that fellow ‘dhili’. Haven’t seen one of his 400 post marathons in a while.

                    1. I don’t remember dhili being that far out there, absurd. But after some really, really long exchanges he and others were involved in…..I think the last few hundred comments of a c. 500 comment thread ….I have to admit that I only skimmed some of his commemts.
                      I think he was involved in the ” hacking v. leaking” debate of the DNC emails, and effectively poked some holes in the “17 agencies agreed it was the Russians” bit. I think it probably was the Russians, but dhili and a few others effectively argued that there’s reasonable doubt.

  3. Did any of you read the transcript of yesterday’s emergency hearing? The DOJ had acknowledged that the issue was dead, and that census forms, sans the citizenship question, were already being printed, but then the Dotard declared via tweet that it wasn’t dead, and he wasn’t going to honor the Supreme Court decision That left the DOJ lawyers standing there (figuratively speaking–it was a telephonic hearing because they had to call in from their vacation), holding their genitalia. It was kind of pathetic, really, because one of the DOJ lawyers had to kind of beg for mercy, declaring that he had worked for the DOJ for something like 16 years, that he had never intentionally lied to any court, and that he was just as clueless as everyone else about the meaning of the tweet. The Judge ordered them back in court on Friday to explain their client’s position, and the DOJ lawyer asked to delay it to Monday. The Judge’s one-word response was: “NO”!.

    The only possible path might be a Hail Mary motion for rehearing, which is not likely to be granted, but the Dotard still can’t put the citizenship question back on the census form without leave from the SCOTUS, which is highly unlikely. The facts, law and argument are already in, and the Dotard lost. He can’t make up alternative facts (a Kellyanne specialty) and try again at this juncture. If he demands that the question be placed on the form despite the ruling, we will be in constitutional crisis mode. It was going to happen sooner or later.

    In addition to the clearly political reason for the question, demanding that an illegal admit to being present in this country, and providing an address, might well constitute coercing them to admit to committing a crime, which even an illegal cannot be forced to do. Of course, that is the point–so they won’t fill out the form. But, as we know, just like Republican gerrymandering, it is all about over-representation of white people, not about conducting an honest count of the population for allocation of representation in Congress and federal funds.

    You would have to be totally blind not to see this narcissistic refusal to capitulate for what it is–an arrogant lack of respect for Article III. How ironic that this flipping off of the SCOTUS happened on the day before Independence Day when our ancestors fought for freedom against tyranny and for representative democratic government. He’s just daring Congress to impeach him, thinking that this will be the only way to “win the victory”. Support is growing for impeachment, which may top 50% after Mueller testifies.

    1. Natatcha, Please show where in the Constitution gives any court any power over the census.


      1. Article 1. Section 2. Clause 3.
        “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

        I think for any reasonable person who has passed the 8th grade can comprehend this sentence to mean that only Congress has the power to determine how the census, which is an enumeration, will be made.

        Not the President, Not the Executive Branch, Not the court’s, and Definitely Not Parties!

    2. “Support is growing for impeachment, which may top 50% after Mueller testifies”.
      The impeachment talkathon started even before Trump took office.It has ended and flowed, but realistically, the impeachment process involves more than “talking about” impeachment.
      IF the House ever gets around to actually moving on impeachment, it will likely be after the 2020 election. If Trump is re-elected, the House might react by actually impeaching Trump.
      Impeachment seems to be there as an “insurance policy” to cash in on if the House doesn’t like the results of the 2020 election.

      1. Impeachment is not a political process, and it also is not a process that should be carried out in the media, or under the influence of the person in question. I wrote this in response to a person who was reading the Mueller Report and questioning why Congress is claiming impotence when it comes to matters of impeachment, especially of a person as inept and clearly unsuited and unqualified to hold the office of President as Trump clearly demonstrates.

        Sorry, I will not apologize for it’s length or it’s content, and don’t care if you agree or disagree with my assessment!

        I have avoided responding to your post of your assessment of the Mueller Report to give me time to formulate a response that will embody the full absurdity of this chapter in American Political History.

        Let me start with the fact that you, and all Americans, having access to this report in any form, redacted or unredacted, is a breach of the chain of custody that is necessary to maintain the level of Secrecy and integrity of the process to properly investigate and act on the findings of information which it contains or which it eludes to.

        Further, that the subject of the investigation, either implied or in fact, having authority over any person, or function, within the chain of custody of information associated with an investigation of this type demonstrates that a valid process does not exist, and a proper institution does not exist, within our Governing System to properly investigate and litigate matters of corruption and conflicts of interest within our Government.

        Within every Governing System there needs to be a stable body, free of conflicts of interest, or the possibility of corruption influencing their authority to maintain control over, and police, the Governing System as a whole. This is the Governing Institution with the predominant Governing Authority, and this Authority is not shared, it is absolute.

        In our Governing System that Governing Body is the Union, the assembly of the States to Govern Together as Equals, and this Governing Authority is embodied in the Senate, where the States are are assembled as Equals with Equal Suffrage to reach Majority Consensus as the Union.

        To put everything into its proper context that is happening today, we are experiencing the chaos of Anarchy, we lack a properly recognized Governing Authority, due to the improper Assembly and Constitution of the Senate. The Senate must be assembled as, and act as, the Union, the United States, in Congress Assembled.

        I’m sure that if you think about it for a minute you will understand why Congress must only be an Assembly of the States, and that only the States have the Suffrage necessary to participate in the Legislative processes of government and reach a Majority Consensus of the States based upon the mode of Assembly, Proportionally in the House and as Equals in the Senate, and that Assembly and distribution of Power amongst the States must only be a function of population alone!

        Why would a Government assembled in this manner function properly in this case of corruption and interference?

        First, a Government assembled based upon the distribution of the population alone would be free of the Partisan conflicts of interest which supports the Two Party System and prevents even the prospect of removing corrupt individuals. Today we are told that the Democrats don’t want to start impeachment proceedings because it will hurt their chances of gaining their desired majorities to control Congress, and it may bolster the prospects of the President in question to be re-elected. Those same Democrats say that because the Senate is Controlled by the Republican’s that the President couldn’t be removed from office because of their affiliation by Party with the President.

        Both of these cases represent conflicts of interest which renders Congress incapable of performing the necessary functions of Governing. In a properly constituted Congress, the Democrats and Republicans would not have access to information, nor would they have the Suffrage necessary to participate in any aspect of the impeachment process or in the Majority Consensuses necessary to impeach or remove the President, or any other Government Officer, from office.

        Congress assembled by State would be free of these affiliations and conflicts of interest, making the process not only expedient but imparting the necessary chain of custody to maintain secrecy, due to the fact that all information would be held by the States as they are assembled in the Senate, the least numerous branch of our Government. Then the States Themselves as the Union will decide what actions to take, up to and including the the removal of the President.

        Most people would say that only the House can impeach the President, sure, but the States in the House will act on what the States in the Senate demand! In fact the bar is lower in the House, requiring as few a 9 States to reach a Majority Consensus on Impeachment, meaning if California alone wanted to raise the Question of Impeachment and get an immediate vote, there would be nothing the other States, nor any Party, could do to Stop them, and if the 20+ States that are already in direct conflicts with the President and his Administration voted in the House on that question of impeachment, the President would be easily impeached within a matter of minutes without further investigation or hearings, which by the way are the responsibility of the Senate alone.

        The other thing that most people do not realize is that once impeached there would be an absence created in the Presidency, which would be immediately filled by the President of the Senate, the Vice President, until the reason for the absence was resolved, impeachment, or a new President be elected. Which means that no matter where in their Presidential Term of Office the person impeached is they are immediately remanded into the custody of the Senate and the Senate will decide what the terms of that custody are throughout the trial phase for removal and if and when that person can return to their duties of their office. If the trial exceeds the term of office of the impeached person, then upon the election of a new President, the impeached President would be immediately remanded over to the justice system for consideration of criminal prosecution ending the trial for removal in the Senate.

        We see things today through the perspective of Partisan Politics which completely filters out all reason. There is not a reasonable person in this country who would consider that what we call our Political System constitutes a properly constituted Governing System of any kind, much less any type of democratic Governing System.

        In conclusion, you shouldn’t have access to the Mueller Report, nor should any Political Party, Not The President, and not anyone acting on behalf of the President or a Political Party. Only the Union should have access to this investigation, or any findings of this investigation, and this information must be held in secrecy, in the Senate, until the matter which the investigation pertains to is resolved, and the Senate shares the information as part of its journal of its proceedings.

  4. Must be out of date since yesterday late they were going to have the citizen census. Makes sense since all the programs that involve financial assistance to local (state, city, county etc.) figure out the amounts to budget from the census. What are they going to do without some valid measuring system? the left isn’t intelligent enough to use WAG or SWAG and i wouldn’t want to be around if they did the blindfolded dart board method.

    Darts = ouch
    WAG wild ass guess
    SWAG = Scientific Wild Ass Guess

    Are you sure this isn’t another bit of DNC stupidity designed to have an open ended budget with no limits?

    or just another version of the Cycle of Economic Repression from Marighella, Clinton and the DNC. Like we need another 30% or so devaluation. it’s so Obamanesque.

  5. I for one will announce my citizenship on the census form whether or not the question appears on the form. Every citizen should be proud to proclaim their identity.

    1. Uh, Victor, despite what Hannity says, the census is not about citizenship or pride: it’s about a head count. How many people are here. That’s all.

      1. Natacha has evidently never seen an actual form, or examined the Statistical Abstract or looked at the Census Bureau’s online data.

  6. Mulvaney has some ‘splaining to do. How is it that the Justice Department counsel in the case and Commerce Secretary Ross BOTH declared the question dead – Tuesday! – and yet less than 24 hours later, their boss publicly flipped everything they said. Do we ask the boss for any explanation? NO!! This is the Chief of Staff’s job. Mulvaney is supposed to know beforehand about the disconnect. How did he let this happen?

    1. who cares?
      You’ve got things to do today in your immediate world that can be impactful unlike the internet “outrage”:
      go to the gym
      wash/wax your family cars with your spouse and kids
      mow the lawn, wash your house porch, driveway, fence
      gather with your neighbors and see what you can do for them
      spend time with family and friends for July 4th
      lead a group in prayer thanking God for the many gifts we have in USA
      live by example: be joyous…its contagious

      Happy 4tn of July


    2. Learning American Standard English might help you. As for the rest of the drivel. REJECTED.

  7. “Not surprisingly”, because Barr wants to be a king maker, not a public servant.

  8. Truth, huh, yeah
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing
    Good God ya’ll

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