Trump’s Pick to Run 2020 Census Has Defended Racial Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression Laws

The census, conducted every 10 years, forms the basis for redistricting, and its detailed demographic data is used to implement the Voting Rights Act and other civil rights laws. Voting rights lawyers and longtime observers of the census worry that instead of committing to accurately count every American, Brunell and the Trump administration will use the 2020 census to concentrate power, representation, and economic resources in Republican hands. “He would be a terrible, terrible person to be running the census,” says Allison Riggs, an attorney for the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which challenged the North Carolina maps in court. “In part because he has absolutely no qualifications to do so, but also because he’s a rank-and-file ideologue.” (Brunell did not respond to requests for comment on this story.)

“It’s breathtaking to think they’re going to make that person responsible for the census,” says former Attorney General Eric Holder. “It’s a sign of what the Trump administration intends to do with the census, which is not to take a Constitutional responsibility with the degree of seriousness that they should. It would raise great fears that you would have a very partisan census run in 2020.”

Read more: Mother Jones, January 2, 2018