Dead Man Talking

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By Bill Maher

This sounds like a clumsy plot twist in a John Grisham movie, but it’s not. The estranged daughter of Thomas Hofeller, the GOP operative nicknamed “the Michelangelo of gerrymandering,” recently discovered some of her late father’s hard drives in storage. Now, what they revealed isn’t shocking - that the Republicans are trying to use every trick they can to keep brown people from voting - but this is different. The Supreme Court is set to rule on Department of Commerce v. New Yorkwhich will decide whether the Trump administration can include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census. They’ve even been in front of the Supreme Court arguing that the citizenship question is there to protect voting rights. These Hofeller documents are smoking gun evidence that they’re, you know, lying.

The hard drives reveal that Hofeller played a central role in the Trump administration’s push to include a citizenship question on the census, because doing so “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.” It also shows that a 2015 Justice Department letter used to justify the Trump administration’s census campaign was basically lifted from a memo written by Hofeller. In other words, these are secret documents revealing a GOP plan to rig the U.S. Census to disenfranchise non-whites, and shows that Trump administration officials lied about the reasoning for adding the citizenship question to the census. The ACLU brought the Hofeller memos to the attention of the Supreme Court, as if to say, “Hey, guess what? They’re lying to you, and here’s proof.” They cited that evidence again this week, when asking the Court to delay its decision. 

Here’s the question: from oral arguments, it seemed like the Supreme Court would side with the Trump administration and allow the addition of the citizenship question. What will it say about the Supreme Court if they see the evidence, in writing, that the Trump administration was lying and arguing in bad faith and that the real reason they’re adding the citizenship question is to disenfranchise non-white voters, and they side with the Trump administration anyway?