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The radical Republicans

GRIFTERS, THE, Eddie Jones, John Cusack, 1990

Abraham Lincoln was a Republican (not a lot of people know that), but his political heirs are clearly of the view that the wrong side won the Civil War:

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution provides that “representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.”

This text is unambiguous. With a narrow exception for some Native Americans, all persons within the United States must be counted in the decennial census. And all persons must be counted when representation is allocated to states in the House of Representatives.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday, President Trump released an extraordinary memorandum suggesting that he gets to decide who counts as a “person” — and that undocumented immigrants do not qualify.

The memo concerns who should be counted when representatives are allocated to states following the 2020 census. Trump claims that “for the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the 2020 census, it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.” Thus, if Trump’s view were to prevail — a view that is at odds with the explicit text of the Constitution — undocumented immigrants would not be counted.

The implications of this unconstitutional policy are significant. An estimated 10.6 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States, but they are not distributed evenly among the states. Nearly 20 percent live in California. If Trump succeeds in effectively voiding a provision of the 14th Amendment, the nation’s largest blue state could potentially lose as many as three House seats.

Luckily the Trump administration’s position would require federal courts to ignore the unambiguous historical meaning of a post-Civil War amendment, and we know that is unpossible, what with Originalism being so sacred to the Federalist Society and all.

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