“Ally! How are you doing since the breakup?”
“Oh! That was a while ago. I’m doing great!”
“Are you? I know these things take time to get over. And that’s okay. You don’t want to rush yourself.”
“Not at all. It was for the best.”
“OK. Because you know Danny is seeing someone else now.”
“Yes. He told me.”
“OK, because people are worried about you. I thought you deserved to know.”
“I know and I’m fine with it. I’m seeing someone also!”
“Wow, that was quick. Does he know you just got out of a relationship?”
“Do you want some caramel cheesecake?”
“No, thank you! I’m full and I’m trying to cut back on dessert.”
“Ice cream? Chocolate mousse?”
“Really, I can’t.”
“You can have dessert every now and then!”
“I’ve already eaten dessert this week. I have goals, so no.”
“Well, it looks like you’ve already lost weight.”
“Maybe two or three pounds.”
“You don’t want to get too thin and frail looking. Being underweight is unhealthy too. I’m a little worried about you.”
“I am in no danger of becoming underweight.”
“OK. Just don’t deprive yourself. It’s no fun being thin if you’re miserable.”
“You coming to happy hour?”
“Sorry, I can’t. Big deadline at work.”
“You can’t spend one night out?”
“Not right now. I don’t want to lose momentum.”
“You don’t want to become one of those people who ‘lives to work.’ I’m worried about you. Remember your company doesn’t care about you. If you died, they’d replace you tomorrow!”
“They pay me well, actually, and my name is on this product. So this is important for them and me.”
“OK. Well, you seem really tired. We just don’t want you to work yourself to death…”
“People are worried about you. It seems like all you do is work.”
“We just went out last week!”
“OK, just don’t let them take advantage of you.”
Concern trolling. When you’re failing at everything, the idea of your friend succeeding is unbearable. So try to destabilize her and make her second-guess her confidence.
Convince her that her situation is far worse than she believes and she’s the only one who doesn’t see it—and do it under the pretense that you’re protecting her best interests.
In Schenectady, New York, a school maintenance man named Steve Raucci works his way up the ranks for 30 years, until finally he’s in charge of the maintenance department. That’s when he starts messing with his employees. Teasing them at meetings. Punishing them with crummy work assignments. Or worse things, like secretly slashing their tires in the middle of the night.
Ten years after his arrest, Steve Raucci broke his silence and gave an interview to Paul Nelson at the Times Union in Albany.
well done. as usual they are there in minutes for something like this but when kids are being abused they are nowhere.
That was a mature, well constructed argument!
They just can’t help themselves can they, cops repeatedly try and impose some kind of authority over the general public for no reason even when no crime is being committed.
This is why in the end the police have lost the respect they had.many not all don’t know the laws they are employed to enforce
It’s this leap to anti-terrorism powers that really annoys me.
There are limits to Police powers for a reason, and invoking terrorism legislation to get round it is a massive abuse of power. Pointing a camera at a prison is not suspicion enough for anti-terror laws to be invoked.
Nice, professional, succinct and respectful response to a couple of amateur fishermen. Well done, and by the way I really enjoy videos where only one person speaks at a time, you and M. did that very well in this interaction whilst backing each other. Tyrant came to mind when he brought up terrorism but that fell off the hook before he got a chance to cast it. You both soon left those two with no bait as they tried everything they had in their tackle box but never even got a bite.
You’d think by now the police on the ground would have received and understood the memo regarding citizens filming.
What does amaze me is the police can turn up in droves for minor things but when theres a Sarah Everard case happening in London they vanish ? ? ?
The camera scares the sh*t out of the bad police officers,one or both of them would have violently arrested you but for the camera,he was itching to do something.Well done on staying
calm and resectfull must be realy hard sometimes.
A police officer is REQUIRED to provide his name, if asked, when he is on duty. The 2nd Police man was breaking the law
I love it. When I was younger the police beat me up for asking an officer why he’d stopped me. Their response to my prefectly reasonable question was to attack me and shout “you never ask a policeman why”! We had to put up with that treatment in the past. Now we have cameras, which has forced their hand to also have body cameras and when people know their rights they are forced to back off. Excellent.
You find out at the end they don’t even know an offence has veen committed yet came to you at rhe start like they were sure it had!! What the heck
Very well done the fact you gave them your first name was respectful and the one pig couldn’t even return the respect
Unfortunately this is the way that policing is going. These two police officers didn’t know where to draw the line and to mention terrorism is an absolute joke. Would you feel safe knowing these two are here to protect us? I know I wouldn’t. Are they Labour supporters by any chance because the Labour Party have no idea when on camera. just ask Abbott and Rayner.
09:42communication and he is this attitude09:45that he’s a cop and that you have to09:48listen to the cops because he’s them and09:50you’re you yeah and that that’s like09:53when he’s telling her to put the09:55cigarette out and she’s saying I don’t09:57have to do that and he’s saying get out09:58of your vehicle and she’s saying I don’t10:00have to do that and then he’s screaming10:02at her I mean that’s that’s all right10:04there yeah so it seems like to me he10:05wants compliance he won’t sir to listen10:07he does yeah he does what he gets it’s10:10funny the what’s remarkable about that10:14tape which I must have seen 50 times and10:18which has been viewed on YouTube you10:20know even a couple million times is how10:22quickly it escalates you know the whole10:24thing is it’s insanely short yeah you10:28you would think if I was telling you the10:30story of this you would think oh this10:32unfolds over 10 minutes and it doesn’t10:35it unfolds over a minute and a half and10:39that what I remember years ago I wrote10:41my second book blink and I have in that10:44book a chapter about a very famous10:47infamous police shooting in New York10:49case of amadou diallo I remember that I10:51remember that was shot like 40 times by10:53cops yeah and one of the big things I10:55was interested in talking about in that10:59case was how long does it take how long11:02did it take for that whole terrible11:05sequence to go11:06down so from the moment the police11:08develop it suspicions about amadou11:12diallo to the moment that amadou diallo11:14is lying dead on his front porch how11:17long how much time elapsed and the11:19answer is like two seconds11:21it’s boo boo boo it’s like and I had a11:24conversation with them actually here in11:26the valley with Gavin de Becker11:30has he ever been on your show no11:32fascinating guy was a security expert on11:35a security expert incredibly interesting11:37guy’s friends with Sam Harris I know11:39that yes yeah yeah and he was talking11:43about this question of time that when11:46you’re a security guard guarding someone11:48you know famous a lot of what you’re11:50trying to do is to inject time into the11:53scenario instead of you don’t want11:56something to unfold in a second and a11:58half where you have almost no time to12:00react properly and what you want to do12:01is to uh knit to unfold in five seconds12:03if you can an align this up I can’t12:06remember his exact term but basically12:07what your job is is to add seconds into12:10the the encounter so that you have a12:13chance to intelligently respond to12:16what’s going on and so he was hit this12:18great riff about um how good Israeli12:23secrets of Secret Service guys are and12:26one of the things they do is they’re12:28they’re they’re either not armed or they12:31don’t they’re trained not to go for12:33their weapons in these situations12:35because this point is so say you’re12:37guarding the president you’re a body man12:40for the president you walk into a crowd12:42somebody comes up to you like pulls a12:45gun wants to shoot the president12:46his point is if you’re the secret12:48security guy and your first instinct in12:51response to someone pulling a gun is to12:53go for your own gun you’ve lost a second12:55and a half right your hands got to go12:58down to here your whole focus is on13:00getting to your own gun and in the13:01meantime the other guy whose guns13:04already out has already shot you’ve lost13:06you need to be someone who forgets about13:08your own gun and just focuses on the on13:12the man in front of you right and13:13protected the president but he was all13:15in the context of time is this really13:18crucial13:20variable in these kind of encounters and13:22everything as a police officer you13:24should be doing is slowing it down wait13:28I you know13:30analyze what’s happening and that’s what13:33he doesn’t do the cop in this instance13:35speeds it up right he goes to DEFCON you13:39know she likes a cigarette and within13:40seconds he’s screaming at her this is13:43like you know a parent shouldn’t do that13:45I mean let a little police officer by13:47the side of the highway Brett but the13:48difference is he knows she’s not a13:50criminal13:50I mean he must know it’s [ __ ]13:54he’s pulling her over because he’s13:56trying to write a ticket and the way13:58he’s communicating with her when she13:59lights a cigarette14:00it’s like she’s inferior like he this is14:04not someone who’s scared he’s not scared14:07of a perpetrator he’s not scared that14:09there’s a criminal in the car about to14:10shoot him he’s not scared of that at all14:12he wants uh Terr total complete14:15compliance and he’s talking to her like14:18like he’s a drill sergeant but can’t you14:21can’t both those things be true how so14:25well in this so in the deposition he14:27gives which I get to the end of the book14:29and I got the tape of the deposition14:30it’s bad it’s totally fascinating14:32it’s like he’s sitting down with the14:34investigating officer in looking into14:37the death of Sandra bland and he’s got I14:39don’t know how long it is two hours now14:41he’s walking them through what he was14:43thinking that day and he makes the case14:46that he was terrified that he was14:49convinced he says he goes back to his14:52squad car comes up and there’s submit14:55there’s some evidence to support this so14:57he pulls her over and he goes to the14:59passenger side window and leans and says15:02ma’am you realize why I pulled you over15:04blah blah and is are you okay because he15:06she doesn’t seem right to him she gives15:09him her license he goes back to his15:10squad car and he says while he’s in the15:12squad car he looks ahead and he sees her15:15making what he calls furtive movements15:17so he’s like furtive movements also he15:20thinks she’s being all kind of jumpy and15:23you know isn’t he just says I saw her15:25moving around in ways it didn’t make me15:27happy and then when he returns to the15:29car he returns driver’s side which is15:32crucial because if15:33you’re a cop you go driver’s side only15:35if you think that you might be in danger15:36right he doesn’t if you go driver’s side15:39you’re exposing yourself to the road15:40when you reason you do that is it when15:42your driver’s side you can see the it’s15:45very very difficult if someone has a gun15:47to shoot the police officer who’s pulled15:50them over if the police officer is on15:51the driver’s side right you have an15:53angle if they’re on the passenger side15:55so why does he go but if he thinks she’s15:57harmless there’s no reason to go back15:58driver’s side I think this guy I think16:01these two things are linked I actually16:02believe him he constructs this16:04ridiculous fantasy about how she’s16:08dangerous but I think that’s just what16:10he was trained to do he’s a paranoid cop16:12and then why is he’s so insistent that16:16she be compliant for the same reason16:19because he’s terrified he’s like do16:21exactly what I say cuz I don’t know what16:23the what’s gonna happen here right and16:24she’s I you know I I don’t know I I16:28don’t think those two those two strains16:32of of interpretation are mutually16:34exclusive mmm that’s interesting it16:37didn’t sound like he was scared at all16:40it sounds like he was pissed that she16:42wasn’t listening to him yeah I didn’t I16:44didn’t think he sounded even remotely16:45scared I felt like he had I mean we’re16:49reading into it right right I have no16:51idea but from my interpretation was he16:54had decided that she wasn’t listening to16:57him and he was gonna make her listen him16:59yeah that’s what I got out of it I17:01didn’t get any fear and I thought that17:03version of it that he described just17:05sounds like horseshit it sounds like17:07what you would say after the fact to17:09strengthen your case well they so17:12there’s another element in here that I17:13get into which is I got his record as a17:17police officer he’d been on the on the17:19force for I forgot nine ten months and17:22we have a record of every traffic stop17:24he ever made and when you look at his17:26list of traffic stops you reason you17:28realized that what happened that day17:30with Sandra bland was not an anomaly17:33that he’s one of those guys who pulls17:35over everyone for [ __ ] reasons mmm17:38all day long so I think I’ve forgotten17:40exact number but in the hour before he17:43pulled over Sandra bland he pulled over17:45for people for other people for equally17:48ridiculous reasons he’s that cop no and17:51he’s that cop because he’s been trained17:53that way right that’s a kind of quotas17:55strange strain of modern policing which17:57says go beyond the ticket pull someone17:59over if you if anything looks a little18:01bit weird because you might find18:02something else now if you look at his18:04history as a cop he almost never found18:06anything else his history is a cop in18:09fact I went through this I forget how18:11many hundreds of traffic stops he had in18:13nine months if you go through them18:15he has like once he found some marijuana18:17on a kid and by the way the town in18:19which he was working as a college town18:21so I mean how hard is that I think he18:24found a gun once misdemeanor gun but18:28everything else was like pulling over18:30people for you know the the light above18:33their license plate was out got that’s18:37the level of stuff he was using he did18:39this all day long every day18:43so he’s like to him it’s second nature18:46yeah pull her over like who knows what’s18:49going on she’s out of state she’s young18:51black woman was this comparable to the18:53way the rest of the cops on the force18:54and his division did it well I looked at18:57I didn’t look at the rest of the cops on18:59his voice what I looked at were state19:02numbers to the wherever they’re several19:05American states give us like North19:07Carolina for example will give us19:10precise complete statistics on the19:16number of traffic stops done by their19:18police officers and the reasons for19:20those stops so when you look at that so19:22I have the I look at the North Carolina19:24numbers for example in the North19:25Carolina Highway Patrol it’s the same19:27thing they’re pulling over unbelievable19:29numbers of people and finding nothing19:31like night you know one percent less19:34than one percent hit rates in some cases19:36of being hit rate being finding19:38something of interest19:39so like they’re pulling over ninety nine19:41people for no reason in order to find19:43one person who’s got you know a bag of19:46dope or something in the car19:48you cannot conduct policing in in a19:53civil society like that and expect to19:55have decent relationships between law19:57enforcement19:58in the civilian population yeah no20:00question but doesn’t that sort of20:02support the idea that he’s full of [ __ ]20:03that he was really concerned that she20:05had something he’d never encountered20:07anything well or or this was the one the20:11fantasy in his head is so what so the20:13questions why does he keep doing it if20:14this is a guy who day in day out pulls20:16over people for no reason and finds20:18nothing and continues to do it20:20now there’s two explanations one is he’s20:22totally cynical and thinks this is the20:24way to be an effective police officer X20:26mission number two is this is a guy who20:28has a powerful fantasy in his head that20:30one day I’m gonna hit the jackpot and20:33I’m gonna open the trunk and is going to20:34be 15 pounds of heroin and I’m gonna be20:37the biggest star who ever lived I think20:39there’s also a rush of just being able20:41to get people to pull over this the the20:44compliance thing which is another reason20:46why he was so furious that what she20:47wasn’t listening to him yeah and she20:48kept a cigarette lit yeah or she was20:51listening but not complying yes yeah um20:53what are the laws I mean are you allowed20:56to smoke a cigarette in your car when a20:57cop pulls you over how does it work like21:00that21:00yeah I mean of course yeah they can’t21:03stop you from engaging they can’t tell21:05you to put out your cigarette there’s no21:07law no he could have said I mean no21:10there’s no law I mean the car though two21:13things the courts historically give21:16enormous leeway to the police officers21:19in a traffic stop as opposed to a21:21person-to-person stop but uh but no I I21:24mean right this is about what he should21:26have said is he could have said ma’am do21:31you mind I would prefer if you put out21:35the cigarette while we’re talking or I’m21:37allergic to smoke or whatever I mean21:39he’s a million ways to him to do it21:40nicely21:40yeah but he’s he’s a jackass about yeah21:42but I mean he’s basically doing the job21:46like a jackass he’s doing a jackass21:48version of being a cop well so this is21:50so this is one of a really really21:53crucial point in the argument of the21:54book which is I think the real lesson of21:58that case is not that he’s a bad cop22:00he’s in fact doing precisely as he is22:02was in trained and instructed to do he’s22:05a he’s the ideal cop and the problem is22:10with the particular philosophy of22:12law enforcement that has emerged over22:14the last ten years in this country which22:16has incentivized and encouraged police22:20officers to engage in these incredibly22:23low reward activities like pulling over22:26a hundred people or defying one person22:28who’s done something wrong that has22:29become enshrined in the strategy of many22:32police forces around the country they22:34tell them to do this I have a whole22:37section of book right go through in22:38detail one of the most important police22:41training manuals which is you know22:45required reading for somebody coming up22:47and which they just walk you through22:48this like it is your job to pull over22:51lots and lots and lots and lots of22:53people even if you only find something22:55in a small percentage of cases why22:57that’s what being a proactive police22:58officer is all about right so they are23:01trained that that phrase go beyond the23:03ticket is a is a term of art in police23:07training like you got to be thinking you23:09sure you pulled him over for having a23:11taillight that’s out23:12but you’re look you’re thinking beyond23:14that is there something else in the car23:16that’s problematic that’s to try to find23:18so there he was being a dutiful police23:22officer and the the answer is to23:24re-examine our philosophies of law23:27enforcement not know I mean you can’t23:30dismiss this thing by saying oh that’s23:32just a particularly bad cop not great23:34but I don’t know if he’s any worse than23:36you know he’s just doing what he was23:38trained to do that’s the issue23:40he should be trained to do something23:41different right that is the issue right23:42the issue is there this is standard23:45practice a treat citizens that are doing23:48nothing wrong as if they’re criminals23:50yeah and pull them over and give them23:52extreme paranoia and freak them out yeah23:55I hope you find something I was home I’m23:58Canadian and I was home in Canada24:00small-town Canada couple weeks ago and I24:04saw in the pack you know how these cars24:06always have there’s often that our24:08slogan on the side of the car the back24:09of the commune so in my little hometown24:11in southwestern Ontario sleepy you know24:14farm country the slogan on the back of24:17the police cars is people helping people24:20so Canadian like the X know understand24:25this24:26country with very low levels of gun24:29ownership which means that a police24:30officer does not enter into an encounter24:32with a civilian with the same degree of24:34fear or paranoia that the civilian has a24:37handgun right which is a big part of24:39this regardless of how one feels about24:42gun laws in this country the fact that24:44there are lots of guns mean makes the24:46job of a police officer a lot harder and24:48every police officer will tell you that24:49in Canada they don’t have that fear but24:51it’s also Canada and its small town24:53Canada and so when you encounter a24:55police officer in my little town he’s24:57like he’s people helping people he’s24:59like he’s like driving like a Camry and25:02he’s you know he’s like this genial25:04person who was a really camera amis I25:06forgotten exactly what the driver was25:08not like they’re not driving scars yeah25:11explorers painted black with like big25:14bull bars at the front right and then25:17you go you know I was you go I mean even25:20in LA I hate you know I like that25:22cars are painted black and white so they25:25look ferocious I mean the whole thing25:27that was it is still look ferocious do I25:30just look they identify as police to25:32connait to a Canadian looks to me it25:35looks a little why do they have to paint25:37them black forgets nothing Oakland25:39Raiders I mean it’s like what do you25:41think they should paint them something25:43mild and like bright yellow something25:45lovely something lovely like a nice can25:48you imagine a like a teal or a25:50lime-green well that would be yeah25:52because there’s a lot of black cars a25:54lot of white cars a lot of teal cars25:55it’s good so it would yeah it would25:57stand out like oh it’s cop this paint26:00car but you know this kind of symbolism26:03right matters right right you wanna see26:06an image sheriff joe arpaio who makes26:08all those prisoners wear pink yeah yeah26:11that’s kind of thing but I mean to26:14against his point though how many women26:16shoot cops26:18isn’t that an insanely low number yeah I26:21mean insanely low I mean what are the26:24numbers I mean it’s probably almost26:26non-existent26:27yeah well guys pull over women I don’t26:29think they’re worried about being shot I26:30really don’t I think it’s horseshit I26:33think it’s all after the fact yeah he26:35was trying to concoct some sort of an26:36excuse I was gonna excuse for26:38is he still in the force I know he was26:41either he’s kicked off for I forgotten26:46the precise language they used but for26:48basically being impolite to a civilian26:52but um yeah I don’t think there’s a lot26:54of but I don’t know whether I mean I I26:57still think we’re saying the same thing26:59which is the thing that’s driving him27:02his motivation is not rational right and27:05if you were a rational actor you would27:07never engage in an activity where 99.9%27:10of your police stops resulted in nothing27:13right27:14yeah he’s he is off in some weird kind27:17of fantasy land for a reason which is27:20that’s what in certain jurisdictions in27:23this country that’s what law enforcement27:24has come to look at Brooke like yeah27:26that’s that’s problematic it’s a huge27:28problem27:34[Applause]
Some of its employees tried to stop their company from doing work they saw as unethical. It blew up in their faces.
The decision in the census case suggests President Trump can no longer take the court for granted.
A cynic might say that with his two major decisions on the last day of the Supreme Court term a week ago, Chief Justice John Roberts saved both the Republican Party and the court — first by shutting the federal courts’ door to claims of partisan gerrymandering, a practice in which both political parties indulge but that Republicans have perfected to a high art, and then by refusing to swallow the Trump administration’s dishonest rationale for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
President Trump, having placed two justices on the Supreme Court, had taken to treating the court as a wholly owned subsidiary, and not without some justification. It was the court, after all, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, joined by the other four Republican-appointed justices, that saved the president’s Muslim travel ban a year ago. But the chief justice’s opinion in the census case last week blew a hole in what appeared to be a protective firewall that the president can no longer take for granted.
I’m not joining the cynics, especially now that the citizenship question is dead — or so it seemed on Tuesday, based on the Justice Department’s assertion to the federal district judge handling a companion case in Maryland that the census forms were being printed without the citizenship question. On Wednesday, a furious President Trump ordered the Justice Department to reverse course; what followed was a telephone colloquy between that federal judge, George Hazel, and the lawyers for which the word bizarre is a breathtaking understatement. “I can’t possibly predict at this juncture what exactly is going to happen,” Joshua Gardner, a Justice Department lawyer, told the judge, who gave the administration until Friday afternoon to get its story straight.
It would take a heart of stone not to feel sorry for the administration’s lawyers, faced with defending the indefensible. As they recognized 24 hours earlier, the chief justice’s opinion in fact left no wiggle room. Once the behavior of Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, was called out by the Supreme Court of the United States, the president was trapped — and now his lawyers are caught in his net. Maybe they can find a way around the chief justice’s decision, but I don’t think so.
Here’s why: Once the court rejected the administration’s stated rationale as phony — or “contrived,” as Chief Justice Roberts put it more politely in agreeing with Federal District Judge Jesse Furman that improved enforcement of the Voting Rights Act was not Secretary Ross’s real motive — the administration might have tried to come up with some other politically palatable explanation. That would almost certainly have failed, because courts generally will not accept what they call “post hoc rationalizations,” explanations cooked up under pressure and after the fact. But even if such a ploy had succeeded, its very success would have proved Secretary Ross to have been a liar all along.
The citizenship question is now history, fortunately, but this whole episode is too fascinating, too important for the country and the court, to put behind us just yet. So in this column, I want to probe the census decision itself, both for what it tells us about the court and for what it might suggest about the next test of the relationship between the president and the court that he has so recently regarded as his very own. That is the question of the validity of the president’s rescission of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the Obama-era policy that now protects the “dreamers,” some 700,000 young undocumented people brought to this country as children, from being thrown out of the only country they have ever known. The court will hear that case in its next term, and there are some striking parallels with the census case that just might leave the Trump administration empty-handed again.
But first, the census case. I’ve been obsessed with imagining whatever dark night of the soul preceded the chief justice’s last-minute decision to shift course and reject the administration’s position.
I readily admit that I have no sources for the claim I just made. I have no proof that Chief Justice Roberts initially voted with the administration and talked himself out of that position sometime during the two months that elapsed between the April argument and the June decision. But I’ve been reading Supreme Court decisions for a very long time, and the opinions that provide the holding — the chief justice’s plus the partially concurring opinion of Justice Stephen Breyer for the court’s four liberals — have all the hallmarks of judicial tectonic plates that shifted late in the day to produce an outcome that none of the players anticipated at the start.
To begin with the chief justice’s opinion: The first 22 of its 28 pages are an argument for why the decision by Secretary Ross to add the citizenship question to the census was a reasonable one that fell squarely within his authority. Noting that Mr. Ross rejected the advice of Census Bureau experts and decided to proceed despite the risk of depressing the response rate, Chief Justice Roberts writes, “That decision was reasonable and reasonably explained, particularly in light of the long history of the citizenship question on the census.”
Then suddenly, on page 23, the opinion’s tone changes as the chief justice reviews the finding by Federal District Judge Furman that Secretary Ross’s explanation for why he wanted the citizenship question in the first place was a pretext. The official story was that it would help the Department of Justice — which was said to have requested the addition of the question — to better enforce the Voting Rights Act on behalf of members of minority groups. In fact, as Judge Furman determined from the evidence, it was Secretary Ross who solicited the Justice Department’s request, and whatever the secretary’s motivation, the reason he gave wasn’t the real one.
“We are presented,” Chief Justice Roberts observes dryly, “with an explanation for agency action that is incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decision making process.” He continues:
“The reasoned explanation requirement of administrative law, after all, is meant to ensure that agencies offer genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public. Accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case.”
Justice Breyer’s opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, is almost as long as the chief justice’s. Nearly all of it reads like a dissent, arguing that Secretary Ross’s rejection of his own experts’ advice made the addition of the citizenship question unreasonable as a matter of law, “arbitrary and capricious” in the language of the Administrative Procedure Act. Only in Justice Breyer’s concluding paragraphs is there anything that reads like a concurrence: “I agree that the pretextual nature of the secretary’s decision provides a sufficient basis to affirm the District Court’s decision to send the matter back to the agency.” It’s hard to read these few paragraphs as anything other than a last-minute addition to a carefully crafted dissenting opinion, one that had rather suddenly become superfluous.
There were two other opinions filed in the case, one by Justice Clarence Thomas that was joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and another by Justice Samuel Alito. Both disagreed vigorously with the chief justice’s bottom line. All four opinions scrupulously avoided any mention of what everybody knew: that documents brought to light in the weeks following the April 23 argument showed that the citizenship question was part of a plan not to help minority groups vote, but the opposite. The plan was to create and entrench Republican majorities in state legislatures by providing data for use if the Supreme Court gives the green light to counting only eligible voters in legislative redistricting. Conservative groups are poised to send such a case to the Supreme Court in the near future, part of a strategy to keep rapidly diversifying red states like Texas from turning blue.
There is no doubt that the justices were aware of this late-breaking development; during the days leading up to the decision, one of the plaintiff groups challenging the citizenship question had filed a brief with the court detailing the findings from the computer files of a recently deceased Republican redistricting specialist. If I’m right about the chief justice’s late-in-the-day change of heart, did these revelations play a part, even a subconscious one? That’s more speculation than even I am willing to engage in. Suffice it to say that it’s hard to imagine the administration’s litigating position undermined in a more devastating fashion.
It’s that observation that brings me to the DACA case. The court will actually hear three DACA cases, consolidated for a single argument and decision. All three are appeals by the administration of rulings that have barred it from carrying out its decision, announced in September 2017, to “unwind” the program. At issue are two Federal District Court opinions and a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that upheld a ruling by a federal district judge in San Francisco, William Alsup. The opinions differ slightly, but all found that the administration’s termination of DACA for the reason the administration has provided would violate the Administrative Procedure Act.
Here’s where the administration is caught. Its stated reason, as expressed by the acting secretary of homeland security on orders from the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, was that DACA lacked statutory authority and was unconstitutional. At the heart of the administration’s appeal is the assertion that the federal courts lack jurisdiction to interfere with the “Executive Branch’s authority to revoke a discretionary policy of nonenforcement that is sanctioning an ongoing violation of federal immigration law by nearly 700,000 aliens.”
That is a very difficult position for the administration to maintain because it presents to the courts a question not of policy but of law. The administration would have a strong case for judicial deference if it described its rejection of DACA as a matter of enforcement priorities that differ from those of the previous administration. But by claiming that “the law is making us do it,” the administration is serving up the federal judges a question at the heart of their jurisdiction: What does the law require?
As Judge John D. Bates of the Federal District Court in Washington observed in his opinion, the administration provided only a few sentences of legal analysis to back up its claim. “This scant legal reasoning was insufficient to satisfy the department’s obligation to explain its departure from its prior stated view that DACA was lawful,” Judge Bates explained.
So the question is why the administration failed to offer a policy-based explanation, one that might well have persuaded the lower courts and eased its path to the Supreme Court. One reason might have been to protect the president, who declared shortly after his inauguration that “we are not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals” and that “the dreamers should rest easy.” The reason for going after the dreamers had therefore to be based on a claim of pure law, not a change of heart.
A more cynical explanation — and here I’ll indulge in the cynicism from which I refrained at the beginning of this column — is that in claiming that revoking the policy is required by law and not preference, the administration seeks to avoid accountability for a position that, if it were to prevail, would predictably cause economic disruption and public dismay.
Many policy positions predictably affect hundreds of thousands or millions of people; had Republicans succeeded in gutting the Affordable Care Act, for example, millions of people would have been thrown back into the health care jungle. But we don’t know their names. The DACA recipients, by contrast, have names that are known, not only to the Department of Homeland Security but to their schools, their employers, their communities. One dreamer recently received a Rhodes Scholarship and will not be able to return to the United States from Oxford if the administration wins its case. Others with less exalted achievements are simply getting their degrees, holding down jobs, paying their taxes, raising some 200,000 American-born children and going about their lives in the country they regard as their own.
The dreamers will still be here next April, when the census takers come around; the Supreme Court decision will almost certainly not be issued by then. They will be counted along with the rest of us in the grand decennial enumeration that the Constitution’s framers decreed. And a year from now, we’ll know whether the court that could see through one Trump administration strategy is willing and able to do it a second time.
WASHINGTON—A divided Supreme Court on Thursday prevented the Trump administration, for now, from asking U.S. residents on the 2020 census whether they are citizens, a considerable setback for the White House.
The court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, didn’t issue a definitive decision finding the citizenship question unlawful, but it raised concerns about the Trump administration’s stated reason for adding the question to the census.
In strong language, the chief justice, joined by the court’s four liberal justices, said the administration’s official explanation “seems to have been contrived.”
The court sent the case back for more proceedings, leaving the 2020 census in a state of uncertainty—though if the deadline for finalizing the form is July 1, as census officials said this week, the question won’t be on it. However in at least one government filing, a census official gave the final date as Oct. 31.
Three different U.S. district judges have ruled that including the question was unlawful, with each finding that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had not provided the public with his real reasons for doing so.
The Supreme Court’s ruling, which comes at a time of deeply divided immigration politics, could have considerable ramifications for the U.S. population count, as well as the drawing of congressional districts and the allocation of more than $600 billion in federal funds that are based on census data.
The census, mandated by the Constitution, counts all U.S. residents, regardless of citizenship or residency status.
A group of 18 states that sued Mr. Ross, as well as some career Census Bureau staffers, said adding a citizenship question would dampen response rates in immigrant-heavy communities, even in households with legal residents. If that happens, those communities could see a smaller piece of the federal pie, both in political representation and government funding.
The Trump administration said Mr. Ross, whose department oversees the Census Bureau, had the legal authority to include the question and determined that the benefits of having the citizenship data outweighed the potential of a lower response rate. It also pointed to earlier census surveys in the nation’s history that had asked about citizenship.
Mr. Ross’s explanations for adding the question have shifted over time. He and other Trump administration officials have said that census citizenship data would help the Justice Department with its efforts to comply with the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.
Legal challengers in the case have said the administration’s reasons were the opposite—to dilute minority representation—and they said additional evidence has come to light recently that supports their claims. A Maryland federal judge this week said that evidence, which came from the files of a GOP political consultant who died last year, “potentially connects the dots between a discriminatory purpose—diluting Hispanics’ political power—and Secretary Ross’s decision.”
The evidence wasn’t directly before the Supreme Court when it took up the case, though it has received additional legal filings from both sides in recent weeks. New lower court proceedings are pending, though it isn’t clear what impact, if any, those will have after the high court’s ruling.
In April when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the census, President Trump said Americans deserved to know how many citizens were among those residing in their country.
Federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from sharing survey answers with federal immigration authorities, but a survey commissioned by the bureau last year found that asking about citizenship could be a substantial barrier to getting people to participate.
The whole country hasn’t been asked about citizenship on the decennial survey since 1950, but the government in recent years has asked a smaller sample of U.S. residents about their status.
The citizenship question touches on the broader immigration agenda that has been a central focus of the Trump presidency. Mr. Trump has barred travel by people from certain Muslim-majority countries—a ban the Supreme Court upheld last year. Mr. Trump’s administration also has attempted to limit immigrant claims for asylum; tried to cancel Obama-era benefits for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children; and sought to build new barriers on the southern border. All of those efforts remain tied up in the courts.