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Republicans and the U.S. census (Page 2)
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SpaceMonkey
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Apr 1, 2010, 09:28 AM
 
From:
http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decenni...s/1790m-02.pdf

The First Census act was passed at the second session of the First Congress, and was signed by President Washington on March 1, 1790. The task of making the first enumeration of inhabitants was placed upon the President. Under this law the marshals of the several judicial districts were required to ascertain the number of inhabitants within their respective districts, omitting Indians not taxed, and distinguishing free persons (including those bound to service for a term of years) from all others; the sex and color of free persons; and the number of free males 16 years of age and over.

The object of the inquiry last mentioned was, undoubtedly, to obtain definite knowledge as to the military and industrial strength of the country. This fact possesses special interest, because the Constitution directs merely an enumeration of inhabitants, Thus the demand for increasingly extensive information, which has been so marked a characteristic of census legislation, began with the First Congress that dealt with the subject.

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andi*pandi
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Apr 1, 2010, 09:28 AM
 
What was the census like in 1990, 2000? If it mentioned race then, did republicans complain then?
     
The Final Dakar
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Apr 1, 2010, 09:44 AM
 
That's the right question.
     
Big Mac
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Apr 1, 2010, 09:52 AM
 
I don't remember much of any controversy in 2000. I was too young to care in 1990. And Republicans aren't the only ones complaining, FWIW.

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Apr 1, 2010, 11:14 AM
 

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Apr 1, 2010, 12:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Learned something new, then. I always thought indentured servitude in American lexicon was just a euphemism for slave.
Oh no. Folks went into IS to get passage to this country, or to earn an apprenticeship. Ben Franklin was "indentured" to one of his older siblings to learn the printer's trade, I think.
     
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Apr 1, 2010, 12:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
I don't remember much of any controversy in 2000. I was too young to care in 1990. And Republicans aren't the only ones complaining, FWIW.
I do, BIG controversy for the same reasons. And Republicans weren't the only ones complaining then, either.
     
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Apr 1, 2010, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I think your aim is a little wide. SCOTUS decides on legalities, but the "other uses" of census data you're alluding to come from Congress. Gathering information on things like ethnicity and the like allow specific programs to operate. They are side issues though-enumerating the population is what the Constitution mandates the Census for. That it takes a few seconds more to enter information that gets anonymized as soon as it's entered is truly trivial and at worst helps with operation of some minor bureaucracy.
So there really is no Constitutional requirement to fill out any question which doesn't allow the government to enumerate the population. That's what I thought.

As to previous years, I remember controversy as well.
     
SpaceMonkey
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Apr 1, 2010, 02:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by stupendousman View Post
So there really is no Constitutional requirement to fill out any question which doesn't allow the government to enumerate the population. That's what I thought.
Of course there isn't. The Constitution doesn't dictate the behavior of individual citizens. The requirement is a legal one, and the relevant laws have been upheld as Constitutional. Or did you mean to say something else? Are you now ignoring the fact that gaining broader demographic information has been a goal of the Census from the very start?

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Apr 1, 2010, 02:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Are you now ignoring the fact that gaining broader demographic information has been a goal of the Census from the very start?
Read between the lines: George Washington wasn't one of the "real" founding fathers, as evidenced by his support of statistics.
     
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Apr 1, 2010, 02:53 PM
 
Well, the race stuff does serve a "legitimate" purpose. How in the world is anyone supposed to gerrymander the Congressional districts if they aren't exactly sure where everyone is?
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SpaceMonkey
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Apr 1, 2010, 02:55 PM
 
Blame the people doing the gerrymandering, not the information it is based on.

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The Final Dakar
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Apr 1, 2010, 02:56 PM
 
Racial statistics don't gerrymander congressional districts, people gerrymander congressional districts.
     
SpaceMonkey
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Apr 1, 2010, 02:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Racial statistics don't gerrymander congressional districts, people gerrymander congressional districts.
Well put.

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olePigeon  (op)
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Apr 1, 2010, 03:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by stupendousman View Post
Could you show me any evidence that the founders intended the Census to be for the purpose of evaluating any of the above?
"...demand for increasingly extensive information, which has been so marked a characteristic of census legislation, began with the First Congress that dealt with the subject."

Like I said, barely 80 years after the first Congress ruled on it, the Supreme Court upheld this decision.

Originally Posted by stupendousman View Post
I do understand that from time to time the Supreme Court makes stuff up because they personally think it's a good idea, but that has little to do with what the Constitution actually was meant to provide. In other words, "B.S."
As usual, you would be wrong.

Originally Posted by stupendousman View Post
Someone else stated that the first Census collected other statistics as well. Could someone tell us what was included in the first Census? I'm guessing that's pretty much what the Founders intended, since that's what they gave us.
That would be the total number of people, their sex, their race, their age, and whether or not they're a slave, freed slave, or indentured servant; except for untaxed Native Americans. As stated above, the First Congress -- and as upheld by the Supreme Court -- already acknowledged that increasingly extensive information may be required in the census. It is completely Constitutional and is in the spirit of the law.
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olePigeon  (op)
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Apr 1, 2010, 03:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Read between the lines: George Washington wasn't one of the "real" founding fathers, as evidenced by his support of statistics.
Seriously. What would George Washington and the First Congress know about the Constitution. Bunch of liberal, tree hugging hippies.
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SpaceMonkey
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Apr 1, 2010, 03:27 PM
 
To clarify, whether or not they were slaves or untaxed Native Americans was, at the time, directly related to allotting Congressional representation. The "irrelevant" statistics were non-white free persons, gender, and age.

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olePigeon  (op)
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Apr 1, 2010, 03:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Of course there isn't. The Constitution doesn't dictate the behavior of individual citizens. The requirement is a legal one, and the relevant laws have been upheld as Constitutional. Or did you mean to say something else? Are you now ignoring the fact that gaining broader demographic information has been a goal of the Census from the very start?
I give it a page and a half before he swings back to making that statement again, then you'll have to quote yourself.
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olePigeon  (op)
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Apr 1, 2010, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
To clarify, whether or not they were slaves or untaxed Native Americans was, at the time, directly related to allotting Congressional representation. The "irrelevant" statistics were non-white free persons, gender, and age.
It also asked for ethnicity (color) of all free persons.
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ebuddy
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Apr 1, 2010, 06:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Are you being facetious? If Congress passes a law that in order to implement requires an accurate understanding of certain demographic features, then yes, that is an integral need in administering the law.
What law has been passed with an accurate understanding of certain demographics? Do you have any examples of an effective use of census data?

For example, how long have we known about the influx of baby-boomers on the Social Security dole that we now find ourselves with a program so ill-prepared to keep up?
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SpaceMonkey
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Apr 1, 2010, 08:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
What law has been passed with an accurate understanding of certain demographics? Do you have any examples of an effective use of census data?

For example, how long have we known about the influx of baby-boomers on the Social Security dole that we now find ourselves with a program so ill-prepared to keep up?
I'm saying that Congress has passed laws that require an updated understanding of certain demographic features in order to enforce. For example, in order to identify jurisdictions that are covered under minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act:

Covered jurisdictions are determined by the Census Bureau after each census based upon a formula set out in the Voting Rights Act.

...

Covered language minorities are limited to American Indians, Asian Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Spanish-heritage citizens - the groups that Congress found to have faced barriers in the political process.

...

A jurisdiction is covered under Section 203 where the number of United States citizens of voting age is a single language group within the jurisdiction:

Is more than 10,000, or
Is more than five percent of all voting age citizens, or
On an Indian reservation, exceeds five percent of all reservation residents; and
The illiteracy rate of the group is higher than the national illiteracy rate
Do people really think that the Census Bureau arbitrarily selects which questions to ask?
( Last edited by SpaceMonkey; Apr 1, 2010 at 08:51 PM. )

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ebuddy
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Apr 1, 2010, 10:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
I'm saying that Congress has passed laws that require an updated understanding of certain demographic features in order to enforce. For example, in order to identify jurisdictions that are covered under minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act:
Fair enough. It's a sham that State governments are so unaware of their racial composition that they need to rely on a decennial census, but... I'll accept the possibility that perhaps this has led to some heretofore civil rights enforcement.
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stupendousman
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Apr 1, 2010, 10:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Of course there isn't. The Constitution doesn't dictate the behavior of individual citizens. The requirement is a legal one, and the relevant laws have been upheld as Constitutional.
Where exactly in the Constitution does it give the federal government the right to ask potentially intrusive questions other than what's required for enumeration?

Or did you mean to say something else? Are you now ignoring the fact that gaining broader demographic information has been a goal of the Census from the very start?
We saw the questions "from the start". They pretty much seemed designed to determine how many people where in the household, and who could likely vote.
     
ort888
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Apr 1, 2010, 10:14 PM
 
So don't answer the question about race. BFD. It's optional anyway.

What is all this bitching about?

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Apr 1, 2010, 10:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
So don't answer the question about race. BFD. It's optional anyway.

What is all this bitching about?
Exactly. If you're black you're black. If you're white you're white. If you're asian you're asian. Whatever. Just fill out the form and keep it moving.

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SpaceMonkey
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Apr 1, 2010, 10:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by stupendousman View Post
Where exactly in the Constitution does it give the federal government the right to ask potentially intrusive questions other than what's required for enumeration?
The basic purpose of the census is to count the number of people in each state. As I have explained above, some other questions are added based on requirements stated in other laws passed by Congress, and because the census is a convenient means of gathering this additional information.

Assuming these other laws are themselves within Congress' constitutional power, Congress can ask these questions because the "necessary and proper clause" of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18) gives Congress the power to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." The administration of the census itself is within Congress' power ("The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."), and so it is also within Congress' constitutional power to add the additional questions to the list of those prescribed in the act that initiates that year's census.

We saw the questions "from the start". They pretty much seemed designed to determine how many people where in the household, and who could likely vote.
"Who could likely vote" is not required for enumeration. Knowing whether or not you are 16 or older is not required for enumeration. Neither is gender. None of these features are relevant for determining the Congressional representation allotted to each state (the only things that mattered were the population of free persons and the population of slaves). As stated earlier in the thread, the "irrelevant" categories were added for a larger data collection purpose. So by your standard, the first census would have been unconstitutional. Or would you like to hold true to your earlier statement that the first census would demonstrate "pretty much what the Founders intended"?

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Apr 1, 2010, 11:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by stupendousman View Post
We saw the questions "from the start". They pretty much seemed designed to determine how many people where in the household, and who could likely vote.
That census didn't ask if you owned land, so there was no way to determine voting information from it.

My understanding is one of the purposes was to gauge things like our country's military strength, which is why it was separated by gender, with the males further separated by age. Both of these were irrelevant to enumeration.

Edit: SpaceMonkey beat be to it.
     
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Apr 2, 2010, 08:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by stupendousman View Post
So there really is no Constitutional requirement to fill out any question which doesn't allow the government to enumerate the population. That's what I thought.

As to previous years, I remember controversy as well.
There still is a LEGAL requirement to fill it out-or otherwise be formally enumerated. Congress has the authority to write such laws, and if the president signs them and they are not overturned by SCOTUS, they are binding. Which is in fact the case here.

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SpaceMonkey
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Apr 12, 2010, 03:01 PM
 
Perhaps Republicans are just too cool for school?

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Apr 14, 2010, 02:48 AM
 
I was one of the census workers that went to all of the non-conforming households in our area in 2000, and it was a lot of fun. Some people didn't want to fill in the forms because they believed that despite the law against it, the government would use the information to identity them personally. They didn't want the government knowing where they were living, how many people they were living with, etc. A lot of people were willing to give a head count, but weren't willing to give their names and their children's names. When I had to do the "long form", a lot of people refused to answer quite a few questions on that though. It was too intrusive, IMO. It was a nice and easy job and paid a decent wage (I was in college and it paid about $10/hr + $.30/mile). I got to meet a lot of nice people, and to visit areas that I never even knew existed... there are people living deep in the woods around our County here.

I almost didn't fill out the census this year because I didn't think it was any of the government's business to ask for everyone in my family's names. They kept advertising the census as being "just ten questions", but they should have said "just ten questions per person in your home." But, in the end I sent it in. My wife told me to, so I did
     
olePigeon  (op)
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Apr 14, 2010, 01:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Perhaps Republicans are just too cool for school?
They graduated from college? My head hurts.
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