BY JOHN SHAFFER
As the trendy parlance has it, President Trump continues to live rent-free in the heads of his critics, who can’t seem to talk about anyone or anything else without digging him with their spurs. As we, and many others have been saying for over two and a half years, the President’s texts and tweets and off-hand remarks seem to get him more attention, and into more trouble, than any of the policy changes he has made. An apt example came on July 14, when the President tweeted this: “Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly...... ....and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how.... ....it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!” Of course, such remarks are the type often made by politicians, and are seldom taken very seriously, but the progressives have a pretty high opinion of themselves, are always looking for insults, and don’t have much of a sense of humor, so they took this very seriously. The US House voted to condemn the President’s remarks, although the circumstances of that vote saw the Speaker of the House also chastened by the House, and her temporary successor gave up the gavel at his inability to accomplish anything, but few care about that.
BY JOHN SHAFFER
Yes, we were surprised at the recent Supreme Court ruling which prevented the Trump Administration from asking the “are you a citizen?” question on the 2020 census form. After all, the court said that the administration had the constitutional authority to ask the question, which in normal times should have led to a 9-0 decision in favor of the administration. But needless to say, these are not normal times, for the court, by a 5-4 vote,decided by Chief Justice John Roberts, determined that the administration’s “sole stated reason” for including the question was “pretextual” or “contrived.” Again, it should be obvious that an administration has the power to include any question that it has the power to include. Pardon the tautology, but if it has the power to include the question, but cannot include it, then it doesn’t really have the power, does it? And what was the “pretext”? Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The government said that it wanted the question on the form in order to obtain an accurate count of the citizens in order to protect citizens against discrimination, namely, using gerrymandering to dilute their votes. It was noted that numerous federal court decisions have said that the population of citizens of voting age should be the means for determining if a district has been properly apportioned and drawn. However, the court decided that although the authority exists, the rationale for the question was insufficient. Up to this point, each Commerce Department of each Administration has prepared the census forms according to its own motivations, within limits expressed by Congress. Never has a court prohibited a question, nor does the court generally review each question on the form. To do so would be a violation of the separation of powers.