Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Landrieu will take beating on census issue
- 2013 - 801 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- December 2009 - 163 articles
- November 2009 - 166 articles
- October 2009 - 231 articles
- October 30th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- October 29th, 2009 (Thursday) - 39 articles
- October 27th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- October 25th, 2009 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- October 23rd, 2009 (Friday) - 2 articles
- October 22nd, 2009 (Thursday) - 37 articles
- October 21st, 2009 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- October 17th, 2009 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- October 16th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- October 15th, 2009 (Thursday) - 35 articles
- October 14th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- October 13th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- October 12th, 2009 (Monday) - 1 articles
- October 11th, 2009 (Sunday) - 4 articles
- October 9th, 2009 (Friday) - 4 articles
- October 8th, 2009 (Thursday) - 44 articles
- October 7th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- October 6th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- October 5th, 2009 (Monday) - 4 articles
- October 3rd, 2009 (Saturday) - 3 articles
- October 1st, 2009 (Thursday) - 46 articles
- September 2009 - 161 articles
- August 2009 - 136 articles
- July 2009 - 153 articles
- June 2009 - 126 articles
- May 2009 - 164 articles
- April 2009 - 242 articles
- March 2009 - 204 articles
- February 2009 - 163 articles
- January 2009 - 157 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
|Landrieu will take beating on census issue|
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu says it's a transparent political stunt. Republican David Vitter says it's essential to protect the rights of American citizens living in Louisiana.
This is not the first time, or is it likely to be the last, that our fair state's two exalted members of the world's most exclusive club find themselves in a little spat. Not only are the pair members of rival political parties, they are personally as different as night and day.
They have proven in the past, however, that they can put aside those differences in the best interests of their state.
But not this time.
What makes this time different is Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon, the man who has stepped up to the plate and announced that he will give up his seat in Congress to oppose Sen. Vitter's re-election in November 2010. Melancon has publicly sided with Vitter and against Landrieu on what has to be the most unusual, yet important, issue facing Louisiana since the Supreme Court's one-man-one-vote ruling in the 1960s ushered in decennial reapportionment of legislative bodies at every level of American government.
The question is plain and simple. Should people living in the United States who are not American citizens be included in the Census count that determines apportionment of congressional seats every 10 years?
If you answered "no" to that question, you are in accord with Sen. Vitter and Congressman Melancon. If you answered "yes," you are on Sen. Landrieu's side of the issue, and we wish you very good political luck because you will need it.
It all started with Elliot Stonecipher, longtime Shreveport pollster, demographer, political commentator, and plain old junkie. Stonecipher noted that the proposed questionnaire that has been printed and prepared to mail by the Census Bureau next year does not ask respondents if they are American citizens. Therefore, all persons living in the United States, whether or not they are U.S. citizens, will be included in the official count of people to be represented in Congress.
Stonecipher maintains, and his figures stand up under scrutiny, that if legal and illegal aliens in California and Texas are counted in the census, then Louisiana would lose a congressional seat to one of those two states. And the congressman who took that new seat would likely be beholden to the rights of those persons living in the United States illegally, or legally but not citizens.
As incomprehensible as this may seem, there is, in fact, method in the madness of the Census Bureau. The obvious omission of the citizenship question makes it clear that those who run the bureau intend for illegal and legal aliens to be counted along with legitimate citizens. That purpose is very much in line with the purposes of the Democratic Party which stands to gain the additional seats at the expense of Republicans in smaller and more rural states.
In response to Stonecipher's pleas, Vitter has put in an amendment to the Appropriations Bill that contains Census Bureau operating funds for 2010. That amendment would withhold any funds from the Census Bureau unless and until it includes a citizenship question among the questions asked during the official count. Vitter's amendment was followed by a letter signed by him and all other members of the Louisiana congressional delegation except one urging Landrieu and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to support the amendment, and, more importantly, subject it to a vote on the Senate floor.
Louisiana Republican Congressmen Steve Scalise, Bill Cassidy, Rodney Alexander, Charles Boustany, and John Fleming all signed the letter along with Sen. Vitter. It was no surprise that the Republicans all lined up to put the pressure on Mary Landrieu. But Melancon's signature on the letter was a shocker.
Despite the support of her Democratic colleague, Landrieu quickly responded with a highly negative rejection of the Vitter amendment. In a written statement, she said "Sen. Vitter's amendment is a transparent political stunt that would do nothing to address the problem. It would require a constitutional amendment to exclude noncitizens from congressional apportionment decisions. Sen. Vitter's amendment would not amend the Constitution, but it would cost American taxpayers an estimated $1 billion to add a question to the U.S. census at this stage of the game. It is an egregious abuse of taxpayer's dollars that I cannot support."
The constitutional argument was explained by Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Mr. Vargas claims that Section 2 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution dictates that all persons living in the United States be included in the congressional redistricting count.
The 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War to extend rights to former slaves, says "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."
It is this language that Sen. Landrieu claims dictates the inclusion of illegal aliens and non-citizens in congressional reapportionment counts.
It is under this language that the Census Bureau, with the active assent of the Democratic party, omitted a citizenship question from its repertoire.
And it is under this language, barring some kind of successful intervention by Vitter, Stonecipher or others, that Louisiana will mathematically be deprived of a congressional seat in favor of illegal aliens in California and Texas.
Sen. Mary Landrieu has taken a written position in favor of that result. She's going to take a beating on this one.
Jeff David owns and publishes The Livingston Parish News, an award-winning newspaper located in Denham Springs. David is a past president of Louisiana Press Association and National Newspaper Association.