Trump to defy SCOTUS on census citizenship question. How will this end?

Trump plans to issue an executive order to have the citizenship question placed on the census. How will this likely work out? My guess is that Roberts will roll over and let Trump have his way. If he doesn’t, how would the SCOTUS ruling be enforced? Would Roberts order federal marshals to the locations the census forms are being printed, have the forms seized, and force the workers to change the form? Would they issue a contempt of court citation (presumably to be ignored) for Wilbur Ross? Is this really an Andrew Jackson telling John Marshall, “You’ve made your ruling, now enforce it?” moment?

Trump keeps finding new ways to piss me off every day.:mad:

If this doesn’t trigger the proverbial constitutional crisis, what could? How much farther into the imperial presidency ignoring any balance between the branches can one go?

It tests the very nature and basis of our system of government.

Here’s another crazy hypothetical aspect, but since this situation is already crazy I think it should be considered. Let’s say the printers start printing the census with the citizenship question and a bunch of protesters show up to try and stop it. If the police try to stop them, would they have a valid legal defense if they claimed they were there to enforce the SCOTUS ruling?

I’ll wait to see what actually happens, but it sounds quite bad.

So who would have standing to sue the Administration to enjoin them from adding the question? Seems the courts would have to rule against the Administration.

Could this be the final bun on the impeachment sandwich?

They already have, and Trump plans to ignore them.

No, because citizens have no legal authority to enforce SCOTUS rulings. They can protest but can’t interfere, just as one can protest any other issue.

Hadn’t it been announced that printing had begun without the question?

The Party of Law and Order, everyone.
For everyone else, of course. Not for them.

If I understand the situation correctly, unless Trump backs down we would be in a constitutional crisis. Here are the possibilities as I see them.

  1. Trump issues his order and the SCOTUS backs down. Constitutional crisis achieved via the authority of the courts as an equal branch of government being destroyed.

  2. Trump issues his order and neither the SCOTUS or Trump back down. Constitutional crisis achieved, with the rank and file of the federal marshals, FBI, local police, maybe even the military, deciding whose orders they will follow. Possible armed conflict if different people come to different decisions.

  3. Trump backs down, constitutional crisis averted.

I think scenario 1 is most likely at this point, although I’m obviously hoping for scenario 3. Did I miss any other possible outcomes?

What about the option of whoever actually does the printing defying Trump?

Maybe I’m being an optimist, but I think scenario 3 is more likely. Trump has certainly been known to threaten to do something but then at the last minute ostentatiously “change his mind” in child-like hope that he’ll simultaneously garnish praise for being wise and statesman-like and emphasize that he had the power to do the powerful thing he threatened but chose not to exercise that power … this time. :rolleyes:

4a. Trump fires those employees and replaces them with someone who will print the forms, leading back to either scenario 1 or 2.

4b. Trump backs down, leading back to scenario 3 with the minor modification that he backed down to the workers who print the form rather than backing down to the SCOTUS.

You know, I think we got our answer as to why all of those government lawyers no longer wanted to be on this case.

And why he is going this route rather than going back through the courts.

I think it’s important to understand that the SCOTUS did not say in their ruling that a citizenship question could not be added to the census. They said it could not be added on the pretext given by Trump that they were doing it to protect voting rights. For this reason, Trump’s choice to issue an executive order does not run afoul of their ruling.

However, there are very particular rules that apply to adding questions to the census. Oversight of these rules falls to (you guessed it) Congress. Trump apparently intends to attempt to ignore those rules.

He’ll issue his EO, litigation by the House will be immediately filed for an injunction to test the validity of his new efforts, the reasons for which are no longer even pretended, and the EO issue will make its way through the courts. Again.

I’d like to think the SCOTUS would require Trump to adhere to the rules for adding a census question, but I have no idea. If they agree that Trump has exclusive authority to do this with an EO for his own reasons alone and the Congress no longer has a role, then I’d say the imperial “presidency” is complete.

As for why they’re going this route, my belief is that even Czar Barr knew that attempting to take the issue back before the SCOTUS on the original pretext of voting rights wasn’t going to fly. And you’re right about why the lawyers no longer want to be on this case.

Because with Bill Barr’s assistance, he’s trying to get the American public used to the idea of an interpretation of constitutional power that’s not necessarily new but one that’s never been really exercised, which is the concept of constitutional departmentalism. Ever since Marbury v Madison, presidents have more or less accepted judicial supremacy in terms of declaring what the law is. Trump’s administration is going to change that, and this is the beginning.

Remember, it’s not the judicial or legislative branch that has the military, or its own police force, or its own detention centers, or its own national intelligence gathering apparatus. Separate…but hardly co-equal.

Make no mistake about it: we’re in a constitutional crisis, and also a political crisis.

I have left a voice mail for Senator Patty Murray, and sent contact forms to Senator Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Representative Susan DelBene:

He will get away with it and the SC court will do nothing.