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Vox Sentences: Trump throws census plans out the window

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The future of the citizenship question remains unclear despite a recent Supreme Court ruling; Ethiopian Israelis are leading massive protests against racism.

No citizenship question for the census?

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • The past 24 hours have been a roller coaster for the 2020 census citizenship question, and it remains unclear what its fate will be.
  • Five days ago, the Supreme Court gave the government two options: try to think of a better reason for justifying the citizenship question under a tight deadline or just print the census without it. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed that the census was being sent to printers without the citizenship question. [Politico / Ted Hesson]
  • A day later, however, President Trump called the news reports “FAKE” in a Wednesday tweet — even though his administration confirmed the reports in writing. Trump didn’t say whether he was talking about plans for the 2020 census, or future ones. [Vox / Li Zhou​]
  • But it seems Trump got officials to act right away: In a complete reversal of the department’s previous stance, a top Justice Department official told a Maryland federal judge Wednesday that the administration will try to go forward with the citizenship question. It’s not clear if that’s really possible. [NYT / Alan Rappeport, Maggie Haberman and Michael Wines]
  • Activists had been celebrating the absence of the citizenship question. They had been concerned that the question could skew population counts by scaring away immigrants from participating, ultimately leading to a congressional map drawn in Republicans’ favor. [Washington Post / Ann E. Marimow, Matt Zapotosky, and Tara Bahrampour]
  • DOJ’s reversal is sowing more confusion regarding the census. The Maryland judge wants answers, and has instructed the DOJ to provide more information by Friday afternoon. [CNN / Ariane de Vogue, Gregory Wallace, and Jeremy Diamond]

Ethiopian Israelis protest over unarmed teen’s death

  • Ethiopian Israelis have been leading protests after an unarmed Ethiopian Israeli teen was fatally shot by a police officer. [Reuters]
  • The off-duty cop said he was trying to break up an argument including 19-year-old Solomon Tekah when he shot a bullet at the ground that bounced back up and ultimately killed Tekah. The officer has been charged with negligent homicide. [Times of Israel / Jacob Magid]
  • The demonstrators, who are mostly young, have been showing their rage by blocking roads and disrupting traffic. Some protests have taken a violent turn; on Tuesday, 111 police officers were wounded and 136 people were arrested. [BBC]
  • In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while he mourns the death Tekah, lawlessness is unacceptable. [Jerusalem Post / Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post Staff, and Anna Ahronheim]
  • The demonstrations are about more than just Tekah’s death. The protesters say that black youth in Israel are in constant fear of police harassment and are demanding better treatment. [Al Jazeera]
  • The sentiment is especially strong among the Ethiopian community. While Israel brought 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to the country within 36 hours in 1991 to escape war, integration has proven difficult. [NYT / Isabel Kershner]
  • This isn’t the first time the community has complained about what they say is institutionalized racism. Similar demonstrations happened in 2015 when a video of a police officer beating up an Israeli Ethiopian soldier surfaced. [AP / Aron Heller]
  • The goals of the 2015 protests are the same in 2019: to give Ethiopian Israelis a sense of dignity within Israel. [Vox / Alex Ward]


  • A fire at a Jim Beam warehouse in Kentucky destroyed 45,000 barrels of bourbon. That’s about $122 million to $162 million worth of the hard stuff. [NYT / Sandra E. Garcia]
  • A 16-year-old boy sent his friends a video of him allegedly raping a girl along with the text “When your first time having sex is rape.” The judge in the case said he deserves leniency because he’s from a “good family.” [BBC]
  • A man showed up to court in blackface to protest his conviction on charges of attempted murder, saying he was being treated “like a black man.” Following his racist rant, he was sentenced to life in prison. [HuffPost / Marina Fang]
  • Cockroaches will outlive us all: The pests are getting harder and harder to kill because they can rapidly develop resistance to insecticide. [USA Today / Jordan Culver]
  • Green iguanas are taking over Florida, and the state’s wildlife commission is advocating strong measures to curb the population: It released a statement saying it “encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible.” [CNN / Doug Criss]


“There’s no difference from blood to blood. We’re all human beings.” [A chant repeated by Ethiopian Israeli protesters as they marched]

Watch this: How India runs the world’s biggest election

900 million eligible voters need access to polling booths. [YouTube / Christina Thornell and Johnny Harris]

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