Activists voting to fight the government's attempt to add censorship to citizenship faced failure Wednesday, when a federal district court postponed an investigation into new evidence that the issue originated from a partisan operative who hoped to benefit from "non-Hispanic white people."
The case and the question they need to make regarding the newly introduced evidence are now in the hands of the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule in the next three weeks.
The ACLU, the New York Immigration Coalition and others hoped that Judge Jesse Furman would allow expedited disclosure in the case. This will allow them to explore more evidence and potentially question government officials about what they know and when.
Evidence consisted of evidence found on the late operative's hard drive and contradicted by a solemn testament by government officials who said they had brought the issue of citizenship on their own. Researching that evidence is likely to lead to more dangerous information, and is likely to cause the Supreme Court to calm its own considerations.
Judge Furman, however, noted that "there is no need for these issues". This is because, as a matter of law, they are only about whether officials have lied or engaged in improper behavior. And it has nothing to do with the case itself. Regardless of the manner in which the Supreme Court adjudicates, the investigation of potential improper conduct can continue without regard.
Judge Furman ordered plaintiffs to submit legal remedies in the investigation by July 12.
However, in many ways the cat is already out of the bag. Evidence is entered in the records and published to the public. And it's really shocking. It suggests that the purpose of the issue of citizenship is to rewrite congressional districts based on their number of citizens, rather than their total population.
In areas with many (legal) non-citizens living in them, this would mean less congressional representation. Leaving the 200-year-old US tradition, he will replace "one person, one voice" with "one citizen, one vote". It will transform democracy in America to the detriment of immigrants, their families and communities, who are mostly color-coded.
As activists cited it in a brief submission to the district court, "the cursed new evidence reveals hyperparticultural and racial discriminatory motives at the root of the question of citizenship."
It's impossible to see that.
Now the question is whether the Supreme Court will consider it.
In legal terms, the evidence is relevant because one of the activists' claims is that the government violated the Administrative Procedure Act by carrying out a charming public process, when they have already decided to add the issue of citizenship for political reasons. The new documents support that argument.
"It is quite possible that the majority of the Court will simply settle the case for the evidence before it, while making all new discoveries lawfully irrelevant."
At the same time, the new documents are in fact contradicting the activists' assertion that the issue is added to prevent Hispanics from responding to the census because of the fear of activating government action against them or their families, thereby reducing the results in color communities .
Now it seems that the intimidation of Hispanics is just a cherry on the top of the Trump administration. The ice cream transforms democracy itself to the benefit of whites over people with color.
Regardless of the relevance of this new evidence, however, the Supreme Court has wide discretion in deciding what to do about it.
Theoretically, the court can send the case back to the district court to review the new evidence. It is likely to destroy the issue of citizenship, since the census forms for 2020 should be printed.
If you take a cynical attitude towards the court, it is unlikely that the conservative majority, which in April seemed to accept the government's positions at face value in the oral arguments of the case in April, would allow this to happen. It is quite possible that the majority of courts will simply settle the case of evidence before him, making all new discoveries legally irrelevant.
Ultimately, if the position of the court is to simply assess the reason the government puts it before it, and not to inquire how it got to that position, then no matter what these new evidence reveals, it really does not matter.
It was the overall position of the government: that everything needed is an "objective rational basis" for the rule. Do not pay attention to all those men behind the curtain.
On the other hand, the court did not have new evidence in April. It is possible that Chief Justice John Roberts, who has often ruled against Republican political interests (can save Obama's most notorious), can do so again.
There are precedents from both sides of the question. Sometimes, the Supreme Court recognizes new evidence; other times, that's not the case. Unlike the lower courts, the Supreme Court can, more or less, do whatever it wants.
Soon, we'll find out what it is.