President Trump is caving in to the Supreme Court. That’s too bad. I was hoping to watch the show. Instead he’s doing this:
Donald Trump is using his executive powers to order every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all records on the number of citizens and non-citizens in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/WBDQQwB6i2
— POLITICO (@politico) July 11, 2019
Trump himself is typically incoherent trying to explain what this is all about, but Attorney General Bill Barr explained that they hope to use this information for apportionment. That is, they presumably want to apportion members of Congress by number of citizens per state, not number of residents. This is going to be tough sledding given the clear wording of the 14th Amendment:
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.
It says persons, not citizens, and the framers of the 14th Amendment clearly knew the difference. I suppose they could try arguing that “Indians not taxed” really means “anyone not taxed,” and “not taxed” means “not paying income tax” even though the income tax hadn’t been invented at the time. Other than that, I’m not sure how they could argue for apportionment based on citizens instead of residents. But that’s probably just because I’m not being creative enough.
Alternatively, Republicans could leave overall apportionment alone but draw congressional districts based on citizens, not residents. This would open up new avenues for gerrymandering that, for example, would probably keep Texas red for a while longer. The Supreme Court has previously signaled that it might be open to this kind of thing.