Discussion: SCOTUS Tip Toes Around Race And Immigrants In Voting Rights Case

Discussion for article #243554

Funny how this argument never surfaced back when we were counting three-fifths of certain persons who couldn’t vote for purposes of apportioning representation.

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So, now the Tea Party Republicans are for taxation without representation?

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Now why do you think that’s the case?

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It seems odd here to not count the population. The Constitution defines it as per so many in the population to get a rep, so if that is based on crude population than why should it be changed down the line for something like this.

It just seems like a pretty good way of consolidating power and making it harder for others to work their way in. It would be possible to sign up voters in a region and have them count but they would not count per se. And it probably would add another layer of complication.

I do not see why kids would get brought up that much. Women, slaves and so on all counted to help political cause. I figure kids are going to be represented too, even before they understand things so they should count. They are potential future voters. And that is what this should be based on. Everybody can potentially vote, so it should be based on the number of people.

I could see illegal immigration being an issue to that, but really that could help the GOP as those border areas tend to be more red.

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Well, it did, because that was the whole point of it. And frankly I’m not sure the challengers have completely thought out their argument, because right now they’re actually benefiting from something similar - they have districts with lots of people who can’t vote, leaving older white voters as the minority but a disproportionate number of the electorate. The statement in the article:

But the oral arguments did bluntly face the fact that a ruling in favor of the challengers would enhance the representational power of those in rural, largely white areas.

Seems to be completely opposite to what would happen if they won. More rural white voters would get packed into fewer districts, because they would have to make up most of the counted population.

If Fat Tony Scalia really is a literalist who thinks the Court should honor original intent, this is over-and-done with. In the debates over the Fourteenth Amendment, the idea of apportioning on the basis of eligible voters was discussed and amendments of the wording to allow such were brought forward more than twice. They were defeated every time.

Congress did not intend to allow apportionment on the basis of eligible voters. Period.

But beyond that, the national experts on counting (the Census Bureau) filed an amicus brief in which they said the data do not exist to allow apportionment by eligible voters and they doubt data reliable enough to be used for apportionment can be collected.

So, no data exist and the experts doubt it can be collected.

Speaking as an expert in this area, I think the amicus brief is correct. It’s fairly easy to count noses. It’s not difficult to get age and sex data. Citizenship is a whole 'nother animal. You can’t just ask, “Are you a U.S. Citizen” and expect a reliable answer. Residents with green cards will probably answer truthfully, but those without? No. Way. At. All. It’s not too difficult to get such data nationally (sampling mechanisms are used), but collecting it with a fine-enough geographic grain to use in districting would be cost-prohibitive.

The current Census is essentially a yuuuge mail endeavor. Determining citizenship would require going back to enumerators going door-to-door. They would have to demand proof of citizenship (birth certificate or naturalization papers). Many (most?) of us do not keep these things at hand: they are in safe deposit boxes or fireproof safes. Beyond the cost, I think there might be a Fourth Amendment issue.

Given that the reasonable, rational thing is to rule for the government I fully expect Fat Tony Scalia to write a majority opinion ruling for the plaintiffs. We get another data point in the endless litany of Fat Tony’s hypocrisy.

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This is pretty clearly going to be decided along political lines.

The other thing I see happening (especially with a rightwing-stacked judiciary) is states making really draconian rules about who is an eligible voter (misdemeanors and fees/fines/taxes owed, much longer stays at the same residence etc) right around the time of redistricting, getting a couple of election cycles out of the tilted rules, and then slow-rolling any redrawing if the eligibility rules are overturned.

Yes, doing this successfully requires a corrupt judiciary.

The verb “tiptoe” is a single word.