I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that. Rep. Michele Bachmann, June 17, 2009
Shelly Lowe, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau, said Mrs. Bachmann is “misreading” the law. She quoted part of the U.S. legal code that says anyone over 18 years of age who refuses to answer “any of the questions” on the census can be fined up to $5,000. It is interesting how Shelly Lowe changes what Rep. Bachmann says, ignoring the reference to the Constitution.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. [modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.] The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.
Now if you actually read the Constitution it discusses an Enumeration, nothing more. Given the nature of the United States Constitution, it is one of enumerated powers. Powers not listed are not granted. Would the Supreme Court agree? Given the history of legislating from the bench since the 1930s, who knows, but the so-called Justices who choose not to are exposed as the power-hungry people that they are.
The US Code states you can be fined for no answering questions, see below for the exact specifications. Many would argue, including Rep. Bachmann, that you have to answer the question regarding numbers of people in your household, but that the Constitution requires nothing more. Shelly Lowe believes otherwise and that the US Code can trump the Constitution.
§ 221. Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers
(a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I, II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not more than $100.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.