Oral arguments in the case Tuesday will center on how the government can get the most accurate headcount – and whom the census is supposed to be counting.
The stakes are significant because the census determines the apportionment of seats in Congress and how billions in federal tax dollars are distributed over the next decade.
And there you have it. According to ABC, the purpose of the census is not only to determine the number of each state’s representatives, but “how billions in federal tax dollars are distributed over the next decade.”
What ABC and every Fifth Column news outlet is omitting is, aside from determining each state’s allotted number of representatives, the second purpose for having a census was to determine each state’s share of any direct tax laid by Congress i.e., representation with a proportional financial obligation ___ one of the most important protections to insure that states having the largest populations could not use their voting strength in Congress to disproportionately increase the tax burden on the people of states having smaller populations, or increase the burden of taxation on the most financially productive citizens of other states, without proportionately increasing their own share of the federal tax burden.
The two fair share formulas for which the census is conducted are:
s Pop. ___________X House membership (435) = States No. of Representatives
Pop. of U.S.
s pop. _____________X SUM TO BE RAISED = STATES SHARE OF TAX BURDEN
Total U.S. Pop.
The wisdom of tying representative and taxation to each state’s population size was summarized as follows by Madison in the Federalist Papers, that it “…will have a very salutary effect.” Madison observes in this paper . . . “Were” the various States’ “share of representation alone to be governed by this rule, they would have an interest in exaggerating their inhabitants. Were the rule to decide their share of taxation alone, a contrary temptation would prevail. By extending the rule to both objects, the States will have opposite interests, which will control and balance each other, and produce the requisite impartiality.” See Federalist No. 54
And in the state ratification debates we find:
“With regard to the general government imposing internal taxes upon us, he contended that it was absolutely necessary they should have such a power: requisitions had been in vain tried every year since the ratification of the old Confederation, and not a single state had paid the quota required of her. The general government could not abuse this power, and favor one state and oppress another, as each state was to be taxed only in proportion to its representation.” 4 Elliot‘s, S.C., 305-6
And if there is any confusion about the rule of apportionment being intentionally designed to insure that the people of each state are to be taxed proportionately equal to their representation in Congress, Mr. PENDLETON says:
“The apportionment of representation and taxation by the same scale is just; it removes the objection, that, while Virginia paid one sixth part of the expenses of the Union, she had no more weight in public counsels than Delaware, which paid but a very small portion”3 Elliot’s 41
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of darkness.___Supreme Court Justice William Douglas