Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. David Frenchism and the Supreme Court Decision

 

Over at National Review, David French has this to say about the Supreme Court decision preventing the administration from asking citizenship questions on the census:

Against this legal background, I believed that — like with the travel-ban case — a chaotic process would matter less than the very broad discretion granted the president by existing law. I was wrong.

Today, Justice John Roberts joined the four more progressive judges to reach a legal conclusion (articulated in a complex series of interlocking and competing concurrences and dissents) that roughly goes as follows: Including a citizenship question in the census is not “substantively invalid.” However, the Administrative Procedure Act applies, and it is “meant to ensure that agencies offer genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public.” Since the administration’s explanation for its agency’s action was “incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decision making process,” the administration failed to meet its APA obligations.

The secretary of commerce had pointed to an assertion from the Department of Justice that the question would assist in voting-rights enforcement. To put it simply, the majority did not buy that explanation, finding that it was more of a rationalization: The secretary of commerce decided to include the questions, went hunting for a reason, and eventually got the DOJ to help.

Quite frankly, this sounds about right.

I’m starting to see what Sohrab Ahmari means about “David Frenchism.”

It may be that John Roberts found against the administration because he “did not buy that explanation, finding that it was more of a rationalization.” But that’s certainly not true of “the majority” in the persons of the four liberal justices. They found against the administration because the question concerning citizenship violates their progressive political values, and they would have voted in similar fashion whatever the administration’s argument and however sound it might have been. On one side, there are four leftists justices who vote as a solid body and use every opportunity, and every vote, to push leftism as far as they possibly can without respect to legal niceties. On the other, there are five conservative justices, who to varying degrees understand what is going on, but often think through cases as though they were deciding a homeowners insurance claim rather making fundamental decisions concerning the social and political direction of the nation.

In this case, Roberts voted against the administration because, essentially, they didn’t get the paperwork right. This is French’s “chaos.” He might be right about the chaos, but so what? The question at issue is whether the nation can take account of people’s citizenship status while enumerating them for such purposes as congressional seat apportionment. Naturally, the left wants every warm body counted regardless of citizenship status, since the more bodies they can get over the border, the greater their power grows. The four liberal justices get this and will always vote against allowing citizenship questions.

Until conservatives get it, they will never understand the struggle they are in. This doesn’t mean ignoring the law. It means using some judgment concerning what is truly important with respect to the law in the context of socially significant decisions.

I’m reminded of Sgt. Warden in From Here to Eternity in the scene where Pearl Harbor is attacked, and a corporal won’t let him into the armory because he doesn’t have the proper paperwork. Justice Roberts is that corporal.

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There are 153 comments.

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  1. Randy Webster Member

    Now I’m just going to switch to the dark side. I want Ginsburg to die.

    • #1
    • June 28, 2019, at 4:46 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. Dave of Barsham Member

    While I have some sympathy for French’s sensibilities (not enough to agree, but he thinks a lot like my Dad would have thought I’m pretty sure), this is where he leaves me. I’m sick to death of this farce where we pretend there’s some constitutional principle at stake so the boat doesn’t get rocked. It’s BS. The liberal justices don’t want it because they’re politically inclined to keeping illegals counted in the census. Period. Roberts, like in his Obamacare decision, doesn’t want to make waves. There is no principle at work here other than kicking the can down the road to the next census with the hope that a Democrat will be in office to leave it off by default (for the liberal justices anyway, I don’t know what Roberts is thinking). So the left gets to keep the power of illegal immigration in the congress and those who think like French and Roberts get to preen about how principled they are even when they’re wrong. 

    • #2
    • June 28, 2019, at 5:11 PM PST
    • 21 likes
  3. EODmom Coolidge

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Now I’m just going to switch to the dark side. I want Ginsburg to die.

    You don’t really wish that, @randywebster. And in any case, your woeful wish would be wasted: she’s going to be carried out of the Court directly to her wake.

    My view of Roberts’ behaviour though is pretty cynical: I think he wrote this decision because he just doesn’t want to be called the guy who stood in the way. I think he knows very well what the law is, and that there’s no provision for “purity of thought” in executing the law. He just doesn’t want it applied to this census, when he’s the Chief Justice. So he’s just trying to delay it just enough – 10 more years until the next one should put him out pretty far out of range, don’t you think? It’s a pretty juvenile and weasely sort of way to run your life I think. But he’s seeming pretty shallow at this point in his career. What a waste.

    Oh – and I think French is a self righteous sort of analyst. Also more than sort of weasely in pursuit of his distaste and outrage that Trump was elected. No one listened to him. 

    • #3
    • June 28, 2019, at 5:17 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Now I’m just going to switch to the dark side. I want Ginsburg to die.

    I can’t agree with you here; I think I would agree with the collective Left that wishing for someone’s death to further your political cause is appalling, and a civilized person would never go there!

    What I would wish is that, in her declining health, while happily veiwing the world as full of sunshine and rainbows, she ungoes a Turrettes-like brain change and begins voting with Thomas in all things. Then watch as the collective Left immediately puts out a contract on her.

    • #4
    • June 28, 2019, at 5:26 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  5. JoelB Member

    Why is it that when a known liberal is appointed to the court, he stays liberal to the end, but when a conservative is appointed there is a 50/50 chance he goes wobbly?

    • #5
    • June 28, 2019, at 6:26 PM PST
    • 19 likes
  6. Joseph Eagar Member

    The quote in the OP neatly sums up my problem with David French. At a time when surveys show that demographic conflict is really starting to heat up and most Americans think their ethnicity is under attack, David French proposes we allow the left to pad their congressional apportionment by including illegal immigrants in the census.

    Why yes, let’s give extra congressional seats to the party who is the most extreme on ethnic issues.

    • #6
    • June 28, 2019, at 6:29 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  7. D.A. Venters Member

    I would just like to point out that this is a ruling that slaps a federal agency for failing to adequately provide a rationalization for its action, which rationalization is required by Congress. This reining in of a federal agency, this reassertion of Congressional authority, is a good thing for small government conservatives.

    And it came without any stretching of Constitutional protections for illegal aliens. 

     

     

    • #7
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:11 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Dave of Barsham Member

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I would just like to point out that this is a ruling that slaps a federal agency for failing to adequately provide a rationalization for its action, which rationalization is required by Congress. This reining in of a federal agency, this reassertion of Congressional authority, is a good thing for small government conservatives.

    And it came without any stretching of Constitutional protections for illegal aliens.

    I think I could agree if the question were something a little more nonsensical. If the Federal government wants to know what brand of underwear I buy, I would want an explanation. However, the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States wants to push back on any reasoning for asking if you’re a citizen or not on the Federal census, the purpose of which is to determine representation in congress worries me. If one isn’t a citizen, they get to enjoy many of the great things about America, but they don’t get represented at the Federal level. What this decision does is push back to a lower court and postpone an obvious decision the founders wouldn’t have thought twice about long enough to make the ultimate ruling moot for a decade.

    • #8
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:45 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  9. Kevin Schulte Member

    John Roberts is a quisling x2 . He is doing just exactly the thing George Bush appointed him to do. David French is a quisling apologist. 

    Expect more of this. This is the work of globalists.

    • #9
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:46 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  10. Franco Member

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Why is it that when a known liberal is appointed to the court, he stays liberal to the end, but when a conservative is appointed there is a 50/50 chance he goes wobbly?

    Because deep state has info.

    • #10
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:51 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  11. Steve C. Member

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I would just like to point out that this is a ruling that slaps a federal agency for failing to adequately provide a rationalization for its action, which rationalization is required by Congress. This reining in of a federal agency, this reassertion of Congressional authority, is a good thing for small government conservatives.

    And it came without any stretching of Constitutional protections for illegal aliens.

     

     

    That’s certainly the conclusion some people are drawing from this decision. I’m not familiar enough with the ins and outs of the Administrative Procedures Act to know whether the Roberts’s Ruling is calling a strike or if it’s a tendentious justification. (I’m not a lawyer and I don’t portray one on the internet.)

    However, I do have an opinion. And my opinion is, and it usually is, the law is an ass. The question is not new, having been asked in previous administrations of the census. I don’t recall any court cases arguing the Feds improperly stopped asking this question. I imagine over the 20 some odd census takings the depth and character of census questions have changed quite a bit.

    One conundrum we face is determining how many illegal aliens live in the US. The actual number is a mystery, yet it is critical to gauging the dimensions of the problem.

    What a silly nation we are when some people deny us one of the better tools we can use to define the problem. And the court goes out if it’s way to tip the balance of the scales of common sense to ignorance.

    • #11
    • June 28, 2019, at 8:05 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  12. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I would just like to point out that this is a ruling that slaps a federal agency for failing to adequately provide a rationalization for its action, which rationalization is required by Congress. This reining in of a federal agency, this reassertion of Congressional authority, is a good thing for small government conservatives.

    And it came without any stretching of Constitutional protections for illegal aliens.

     

     

    Except we all know that no amount of documentation will be good enough and if this was a progressive agenda item. The majority of the court would roll over and spread them for it , begging all the way.

    The beauty of law is it only applies when the powers want it too, and can be ignored otherwise.

    • #12
    • June 28, 2019, at 8:24 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  13. James Lileks Contributor

    Yeah, I’m not with David here.

    • #13
    • June 28, 2019, at 8:58 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  14. Randy Webster Member

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Now I’m just going to switch to the dark side. I want Ginsburg to die.

    I can’t agree with you here; I think I would agree with the collective Left that wishing for someone’s death to further your political cause is appalling, and a civilized person would never go there!

    What I would wish is that, in her declining health, while happily veiwing the world as full of sunshine and rainbows, she ungoes a Turrettes-like brain change and begins voting with Thomas in all things. Then watch as the collective Left immediately puts out a contract on her.

    She could do the decent thing and resign, but she isn’t going to, is she?

    • #14
    • June 28, 2019, at 9:07 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Western Chauvinist Member

    “Rationalization,” rationale. Tomayto, tomahto. Maybe Commerce was so poor at explaining the reason for knowing whether to count someone as a citizen or not when apportioning representation is because it’s so damned obvious!! 

    Roberts is a mewling coward.

    • #15
    • June 28, 2019, at 9:11 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  16. Randy Webster Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    “Rationalization,” rationale. Tomayto, tomahto. Maybe Commerce was so poor at explaining the reason for knowing whether to count someone as a citizen or not when apportioning representation because it’s so damned obvious!!

    Roberts is a mewling coward.

    He’s grown into the job.

    • #16
    • June 28, 2019, at 9:12 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Miffed White Male Member

    I saw an analysis the other day that said if illegals were left out of the count for Congressional apportionment, New York, Illinois and California would lose a combined 18 seats (and electoral votes).

    But there’s room for common ground. I saw we count the illegals for purposes of Congressional apportionment, but only as 3/5ths of a person.

    • #17
    • June 28, 2019, at 9:15 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  18. DonG Coolidge

    This is a horrible decision, but the Trump has to do better. He has to know that all judges and half the executive are out to sabotage everything. I wonder what justification Obama used to remove the question in 2010. I bet it was lame and the justification followed the decision. Just saying.

    • #18
    • June 28, 2019, at 9:31 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Unsk Member

    For a Justice that said that Obamacare was a tax and based his incredible ruling allowing that act to be constitutional when it clearly was not despite the fact that nearly everyone in Congress that voted for it assured us it is not a tax, to now say the Administrative Procedures Act doesn’t allow a question that was in the Census till 2010 and rightly should still be there is disingenuous beyond belief. I thought Roberts’ philosophy was to call “balls and strikes” – the argument against the census question was however without question an incredibly errant wild pitch into the stands and no where near the strike zone. 

    Roberts has simply made a mockery out of American Jurisprudence. 

    • #19
    • June 28, 2019, at 9:53 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  20. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    So, if I understand the French, SCOTUS position. Every time any government agency, changes any part, of any form, that the public may have contact with. That agency has to prepare full legal justifications worthy and strong up to multiple court cases and a SCOTUS ruling otherwise the administration is in total “chaos”.

    • #20
    • June 28, 2019, at 10:09 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  21. Randy Webster Member

    Unsk (View Comment):
    Roberts has simply made a mockery out of American Jurisprudence. 

    He had four compatriots.

    • #21
    • June 29, 2019, at 4:42 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  22. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus Post author

    DonG (View Comment):

    This is a horrible decision, but the Trump has to do better. He has to know that all judges and half the executive are out to sabotage everything. I wonder what justification Obama used to remove the question in 2010. I bet it was lame and the justification followed the decision. Just saying.

    I agree with you. With pretty much every career politician, of both parties, out to derail Trump, he can’t give them any openings.

    So while we can criticize Trump for a lack of competence (and a lot of other things as well), French seems more interested in scoring anti-Trump points than actually doing something to stop the progressive steamroller.

    • #22
    • June 29, 2019, at 6:07 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  23. HankMorgan Coolidge

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I would just like to point out that this is a ruling that slaps a federal agency for failing to adequately provide a rationalization for its action, which rationalization is required by Congress. This reining in of a federal agency, this reassertion of Congressional authority, is a good thing for small government conservatives.

    And it came without any stretching of Constitutional protections for illegal aliens.

     

     

    1. This precedent will not be followed by the left except in cases where it results in their preferred outcome.
    2. The government provided a reason that was sufficient, but the court decided that the reason provided wasn’t the real reason. Apparently the court has decided that mind reading is in it’s purview now. This is stretching the power of the judiciary, not ‘reasserting Congressional authority’ as Congress’ conditional was fulfilled.
    • #23
    • June 29, 2019, at 6:22 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  24. Gary Robbins Reagan

    I am with David French and Chief Justice Roberts on this one. I recommend David French’s article in the National Review. This is pretty fundamental to me, and partially explains my quandary about choosing between the Dems and Trump who is fundamentally dishonest.

    There are three most common reasons why an attorneys a lawyer gets disbarred.

    First, the most common reason for disbarment is that the lawyer is literally stealing from their clients, usually from their trust account, which is usually a function of a lawyer who is addicted to narcotics, who raids their trust account to get money. This appears to be the case with Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti.

    The third most common reason for disbarment is a lawyer who is abandoning their clients, which again is usually due to a lawyer who is on a bender, like an alcoholic who simply doesn’t go to court and disappears to Mexico for months on an epic drunk. It can also be the lawyer who is unfit due to disability.

    The second most common for disbarment is that the lawyer has lied to the Court. This cannot be allowed. It is drilled into us in Law School: “You lie, you die.” Telling the truth is a categorical imperative. It is non-negotiable. It is the foundation for the Rule of Law.

    The emerging evidence is that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross overtly lied. Read David French’s article which is cited in the first sentence f the post. The reason for the citizenship question appears to be to be racial in nature, to suppress Hispanics from answering the census. It appears that Wilbur Ross has lied.

    This is my issue with Trump. He lies repeatedly, with lies large and small. Birtherism was the original sin with Trump. Tell me a more dishonest Republican President in history. You can’t. Trump is disqualified.

    This does not mean that I am voting for an overt Socialist Democrat. I won’t. But I also won’t vote for a dishonest politician like Trump.

    Am I throwing away my vote? No. I am voting my conscience. I am voting for truthfulness. And I am voting against the Trump abberation.

    • #24
    • June 29, 2019, at 6:23 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. HankMorgan Coolidge

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    So, if I understand the French, SCOTUS position. Every time any government agency, changes any part, of any form, that the public may have contact with. That agency has to prepare full legal justifications worthy and strong up to multiple court cases and a SCOTUS ruling otherwise the administration is in total “chaos”.

    *For this case and this case only. Deference to government agencies will return whenever it assists the left’s goals.

    • #25
    • June 29, 2019, at 6:24 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  26. HankMorgan Coolidge

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I am with David French and Chief Justice Roberts on this one. I recommend David French’s article in the National Review. This is pretty fundamental to me, and partially explains my quandary about choosing between the Dems and Trump who is fundamentally dishonest.

    There are three most common reasons why an attorneys a lawyer gets disbarred.

    First, the most common reason for disbarment is that the lawyer is literally stealing from their clients, usually from their trust account, which is usually a function of a lawyer who is addicted to narcotics, who raids their trust account to get money. This appears to be the case with Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti.

    The third most common reason for disbarment is a lawyer who is abandoning their clients, which again is usually due to a lawyer who is on a bender, like an alcoholic who simply doesn’t go to court and disappears to Mexico for months on an epic drunk. It can also be the lawyer who is unfit due to disability.

    The second most common for disbarment is that the lawyer has lied to the Court. This cannot be allowed. It is drilled into us in Law School: “You lie, you die.” Telling the truth is a categorical imperative. It is non-negotiable. It is the foundation for the Rule of Law.

    The emerging evidence is that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross overtly lied. The reason for the citizenship question appears to be to be racial in nature, to suppress Hispanics from answering the census. It appears that Wilbur Ross has lied.

    This is my issue with Trump. He lies repeatedly, with lies large and small. Birtherism was the original sin with Trump. Tell me a more dishonest Republican President in history. You can’t. Trump is disqualified.

    This does not mean that I am voting for an overt Socialist Democrat. I won’t. But I also won’t vote for a dishonest politician like Trump.

    Am I throwing away my vote? No. I am voting my conscience.

    Why does everyone assume illegals won’t answer the census if and only if there is a question on immigration status? They file fraudulent government forms all the time (see asylum cases and IRS data).

    The activist community is quite capable of spreading spreading news into these communities through word of mouth. And this time all they have to do is tell the truth: census data is used in all sorts of sociological studies and financial impact studies, but not used for immigration enforcement.

    • #26
    • June 29, 2019, at 6:43 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  27. Western Chauvinist Member

    HankMorgan (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I am with David French and Chief Justice Roberts on this one. I recommend David French’s article in the National Review. This is pretty fundamental to me, and partially explains my quandary about choosing between the Dems and Trump who is fundamentally dishonest.

    There are three most common reasons why an attorneys a lawyer gets disbarred.

    First, the most common reason for disbarment is that the lawyer is literally stealing from their clients, usually from their trust account, which is usually a function of a lawyer who is addicted to narcotics, who raids their trust account to get money. This appears to be the case with Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti.

    The third most common reason for disbarment is a lawyer who is abandoning their clients, which again is usually due to a lawyer who is on a bender, like an alcoholic who simply doesn’t go to court and disappears to Mexico for months on an epic drunk. It can also be the lawyer who is unfit due to disability.

    The second most common for disbarment is that the lawyer has lied to the Court. This cannot be allowed. It is drilled into us in Law School: “You lie, you die.” Telling the truth is a categorical imperative. It is non-negotiable. It is the foundation for the Rule of Law.

    The emerging evidence is that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross overtly lied. The reason for the citizenship question appears to be to be racial in nature, to suppress Hispanics from answering the census. It appears that Wilbur Ross has lied.

    This is my issue with Trump. He lies repeatedly, with lies large and small. Birtherism was the original sin with Trump. Tell me a more dishonest Republican President in history. You can’t. Trump is disqualified.

    This does not mean that I am voting for an overt Socialist Democrat. I won’t. But I also won’t vote for a dishonest politician like Trump.

    Am I throwing away my vote? No. I am voting my conscience.

    Why does everyone assume illegals won’t answer the census if and only if there is a question on immigration status? They file fraudulent government forms all the time (see asylum cases and IRS data).

    The activist community is quite capable of spreading spreading news into these communities through word of mouth. And this time all they have to do is tell the truth: census data is used in all sorts of sociological studies and financial impact studies, but not used for immigration enforcement.

    What’s to keep them from lying about their citizenship? Is anyone going to ask to see their papers? Puhleaze.

    • #27
    • June 29, 2019, at 7:00 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  28. cdor Member

    Dave of Barsham (View Comment):

    While I have some sympathy for French’s sensibilities (not enough to agree, but he thinks a lot like my Dad would have thought I’m pretty sure), this is where he leaves me. I’m sick to death of this farce where we pretend there’s some constitutional principle at stake so the boat doesn’t get rocked. It’s BS. The liberal justices don’t want it because they’re politically inclined to keeping illegals counted in the census. Period. Roberts, like in his Obamacare decision, doesn’t want to make waves. There is no principle at work here other than kicking the can down the road to the next census with the hope that a Democrat will be in office to leave it off by default (for the liberal justices anyway, I don’t know what Roberts is thinking). So the left gets to keep the power of illegal immigration in the congress and those who think like French and Roberts get to preen about how principled they are even when they’re wrong.

    It’s even worse. Roberts was supposed to be a Constitutional supporter. These lazy decisions will lead to Constitutional dissolution.

    • #28
    • June 29, 2019, at 7:01 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  29. Western Chauvinist Member

    The purpose of the census is to count citizens to apportion representation. If we’re counting illegals, it’s just another diminution of our sovereignty as citizens. Surely David French and Justice Roberts understand this?!

    • #29
    • June 29, 2019, at 7:04 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  30. Kevin Schulte Member

    cdor (View Comment):

    Dave of Barsham (View Comment):

    While I have some sympathy for French’s sensibilities (not enough to agree, but he thinks a lot like my Dad would have thought I’m pretty sure), this is where he leaves me. I’m sick to death of this farce where we pretend there’s some constitutional principle at stake so the boat doesn’t get rocked. It’s BS. The liberal justices don’t want it because they’re politically inclined to keeping illegals counted in the census. Period. Roberts, like in his Obamacare decision, doesn’t want to make waves. There is no principle at work here other than kicking the can down the road to the next census with the hope that a Democrat will be in office to leave it off by default (for the liberal justices anyway, I don’t know what Roberts is thinking). So the left gets to keep the power of illegal immigration in the congress and those who think like French and Roberts get to preen about how principled they are even when they’re wrong.

    It’s even worse. Roberts was supposed to be a Constitutional supporter. These lazy decisions will lead to Constitutional dissolution.

    Loretta Lynch

    James Comey

    Robert Mueller

    We were told they were paragons of virtue. Lucky to have them. 

    • #30
    • June 29, 2019, at 7:07 AM PST
    • 4 likes
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