I Was MAD As Hell about census invasion of privacy

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This afternoon I was visited by a census worker..who said he was doing a follow up.. when I told him I had sent in the long form he stated that it was never received..told him to contact Postal Service... Then he stated that names were not included.. Told him by US Constitution only number was required..and told him same informaation sent on long form ..four people lived here.. He then wanted to know names..negative on that..what was my name to show his supervissor that he hasd actually had a conversation with a person..negative again..told him information was readily available on many government/private sector databases..he said supervisor would probably do a followup..fine by me..will get same answer.number of people residing..watched him try to visit other neighbors..due to heat not a lot of responses even though home..only reason I answered was due to dogs barking..realize guy only doing his job..but surely a better job exists..pissed me off at the time..much calmer now..

-- george (jones@choices.com), July 20, 2000



Now that you're all calmed down, would you mind quoting the part of the Constitution that says that the census only has the right to find out how many people live at your house......?

Tap, tap.....I'm waiting......

Oh, it's not actually in the Constitiution, is it? But you know you read about it somewhere, on some web site.

In fact, the Congress controls what may or may not be asked on the census. Peoples names, ages, and the number of people living in a house have been recorded since 1790. In past years, the questions were much more invasive, including how many morons and idiots lived in the house.

Luckily for you, they don't ask that question any longer.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), July 21, 2000.

Sorry, Jim, George is right.

Here's the authorization to conduct an "enumeration", from article 1, section 2:

"Clause 3: 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. (See Note 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."

And here's the reason that Congress has no authority to direct the Census Bureau to ask any other questions not specifically authorized by the Constitution:

"Amendment IX: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I hope that clears up your confusion.

-- ABC (a@b.c), July 21, 2000.

Oops, that should have been Amendment X, not IX. Sorry.

-- ABC (a@b.c), July 21, 2000.



And who do you think "they" refers to in "such manner as THEY shall by law direct"? It's the Congress! THEY have the right to direct the census bureau to ask any questions they direct to be asked. There's nothing in the Constitution that say the census shall only ask how many people live in a house unless you believe that term enumeration can only be taken to mean a count. If you do, then many court decisions on the subject say you're wrong.

My point is that there's no Constitutional issue about what the census asks. The issue rests solely with Congress and your compaints should be directed there.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), July 21, 2000.

According to the OED, an enumeration is

"The action of ascertaining the number of something; esp. the taking a census of population; a census."

That's clear enough for me. If it isn't clear enough for judges, then maybe we need some new judges.

But let me ask you a a few questions. Suppose that Congress told the Census Bureau to ask people, as part of the "enumeration" authorized by the Constitution, how often they have sex. Or how much money they have in the bank. Or what the passwords are to their Internet accounts. Would those questions also be authorized by the Constitution? What if judges said they were?

Supposing those questions were authorized, would there be any conceivable questions that weren't authorized? If so, what might they be? How do they differ from the intrusive questions that they ask now? What is the standard? Or isn't there one?

-- ABC (a@b.c), July 21, 2000.

I'm with you ABC,

I had no problem sending in the short form of the census, but if some busybody came to my house, and started asking me personal questions about my life, he/she would find 190 lbs of bad attitude.

It's no biz of the Gov how many cars I have ( see DMV records ), how much I make ( The Infernal revenue already knows :-) and If they asked about guns, the first one they'd see would be a loaded and cocked .357 Mag.

As far as I can see, this is just checking to see if you have your story straight.... more gov intrusion into your life.

-- Mr. Slippery (slip@slide.cum), July 21, 2000.


Do you think the framers of the Constitution, if they believed that the census was a simple head count, would have left in the provision that Congress could direct how it should be performed? Since the very first census in 1790 asked for more than a head count, don't you think those framers would have been yelling?

You've mananged to sidestep my point-there's no Constitutional issue about what's being asked on the census. I'm really tired of hearing that old saw dragged over and over again. If you think the questions are intrusive, it's time to replace those members of Congress that allowed the questions. One of the reasons you won't see any of the more absurd questions you posited being asked is precisely because most members of Congress want to get reelected.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), July 21, 2000.


As soon as you answer my questions about what CONSTITUTIONAL, not CONGRESSIONAL limits, if any, there are on census questions, I'll answer your questions. Of course, I won't hold my breath waiting.

-- ABC (a@b.c), July 21, 2000.

Geeze, what are you afraid of? You act like you were singled out personally by the entire process.

If there was a better job at that moment for the guy I am sure he would be in it, a it is he works hard in the heat and has to put up with your wrath,over something he has no control over.

You couldn't have put aside your irritation with the system and been courtious to him now could you? No, because the world revolves around you and "they" can't invade your privacy, but this working guy CAN put up with your inability to control your temper, or at least your lack of reason in taking it out on him.

I'm sure you would be the first to whine if someone gave you a bunch of shit for just doing your job, but you don't hesitate to do it to him.


How are you better than this poor guy?

Shame on you for acting the way you did to him, even if you were ad at te system, he didn't deserve your hostility.

Maybe one day when you grow up you will learn to control your self and think before you act/speak.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), July 21, 2000.

I am a retired man trying to earn a few extra dollars, in a location whre jobs are very hard to find. I landed a job as a census worker, door to door labor.

Been to hundreds of homes, well off (not rich) to very, very poor. Pretty good cross section of Americans (though I missed out on the rich and very rich). In all my contacts, I only came across only one absolute refusal. Found many angry, disgusted, disgruntled citizens, many trying to vent their negative feelings on me.

Some of them reminded me of a time back in the 50's when I was in the Army and for a time served as the Company mail clerk. When mail delivery didn't (or sometimes did) bring what a soldier anticipated, who do you think heard the complaints?

If I had any success in my job as a census worker, it was because I came with and attitude of peace.

I came to homes where folks were down right friendly, some even awaiting their "turn to be counted," thankful a census worker finally showed up. Had several older citizens (over 70), lived in the same place for all their married life, and never before been counted, and were very glad to be contacted. Even had a few who were disappointed they had the short form instead of the long!

What am I saying? This thread doesn't surprise me. Been there, heard it before.



-- Joseph (Here.now@Home.com), July 21, 2000.

Good call, Cherri. Can't say I don't get ornery from time to time, but there's no reason to blame a census worker for one's animosity towards the feds. We're all out there scrapping to make it, folks. Census workers aren't inherently part of Satan's minions. Same with cops and allopaths and any other profession you or I hold negative feelings towards. Treat individuals with kindness whenever possible. Makes life a lot nicer for us all.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@shentel.net), July 21, 2000.

Bingo, right on!!!!

My ex father in law is well off, does census work as a 'hobby'?

He has been chased by dogs, ran off, cussed out, and all alone in an empty trailer park.

Although he really doesnt have to 'do this' he chose to, he was just up from Va not long ago and told some very interesting tales of his journey on the census highway.

Being nice, yep, BTW, does the same apply for your insurance agent?

Just wonderin :-)


-- consumer (shh@aol.com), July 21, 2000.


You can breath out now :^)

There are NO consititutional limits on what can be asked on the census with the exception of the right to privacy, and this is a matter that the courts can and have decided in the past. Anyone can file a suit and claim their constitutional rights were violated by the census. It's then up to the courts to decide if the suit has merit. That's the way this country works - we don't leave it up to each citizen to decide what the Constitution means.

So, all the foks who believe that the census questions are an invasion of privacy should get together and file a class action suit to decide the matter. If they don't, then it's just more unproductive pissing and moaning by people who seem to piss and moan about everything. It would certainly make more sense than taking out your frustrations on the poor census workers.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), July 21, 2000.

Sorry if this has already been addressed, but I'm much too lazy to read all your (fairly lengthy) posts: The census lady came to my home while I slept and met with my wife. Had I been awake I can assure you she wouldn't have passed the front door. How in the world is my salary relevant?

-- moderate (punch@is.good), July 22, 2000.

Seems like the Constitution is clear. Enumeration means counting, for the vocabulary challenged amongst you. It doesn't mean asking your income, how many toilets you got, or even if you or your pet pig drool in your sleep, idiot or not. The congressional authority extends to the method of enumeration only; it doesn't grant authority for all the other crap. Good for you, George.

-- A (A@AisA.com), July 22, 2000.

Some of the response posts seem to indicate that I may have been rude to the census taker..we had a nice civil conversation..even offered him a beer,but he declined due to being on the job..he had no obvious problems with me not providing names of residents..I gave the census bureau all the information I felt they needed..I work for local government and have to mediate between feuding neighbors and citizens who fail to conform with local regulations so I have been involved in verbal confrontations from time to time so I could identify with his job. And maybe its not a bad job,I've never done it and maybe the majority of citizens feel that all those questions were not invasive, I felt they were..recent news said the census bureau is considering a yearly update as well as every ten years..I won't mind that as long as information requested is non-invasive..

-- george (jones@choices.com), July 23, 2000.

--I gave the census bureau all the information I felt they needed--


And since when in this country have we decided it's OK for citizens to decide what parts of what law they will and won't comply with?

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), July 23, 2000.

"And since when in this country have we decided it's OK for citizens to decide what parts of what law they will and won't comply with? "

Since Marbury vs. Madison:

"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void."--Marbury vs. Madison, 5 US 137 (1803)


16 American Jurisprudence (AmJur) 2nd, page 177 states:

"The general rule is...that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality NO LAW, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose, since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it an unconstitutional law. In legal contemplation, it is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principle follows that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it. A contract which rests on an unconstitutional statute creates no obligation to be impaired by subsequent legislation. A void act cannot be legally inconsistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby. Since an unconstitutional statute cannot repeal or in any way affect an existing one, if a repealing statute is unconstitutional, the statute which it attempts to repeal remains in full force and effect. The general principles stated above apply to the constitution as well as the laws of the several states insofar as they are repugnant to the Constitution and the Laws of the United States. Moreover, a constitutional law will nullify an unconstitutional one as effectually as if it had, in express terms been enacted in direct conflict therein."

I hope this dispells your confusion.

-- ABC (a@b.c), July 23, 2000.

Jim, since two year old stopped being taught that the world surrounded them. Since so many people have grown up enjoying the freedoms this country supplies without ever having to pay the price that came with ensuring that freedom is protected from those who would take it away from us. Since so many have failed to learn that those "freedoms" did npot exist, but were created and are inforced by this government they whine about so much.

Since so many younger citizens have had nothing to do with to continuation of those freedoms but take advantage of them and twist and convulate their meaning to comform with whatever area of their life that allows them to do whatever thay want.

Like the man said; If you don't like it here, you are free to leave.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), July 23, 2000.

I guess no thread would be complete without some authentic Cherri gibberish. As usual, it's hard to figure out exactly what she's trying to say. But one thing is clear: she thinks the government creates rights. I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would say about that. But wait, we don't have to wonder, as his position on that is made clear by a little-known document he wrote. Let me quote from it:

"WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

In case anybody would like to know the name of this document, just ask here and I'll be happy to supply it.

-- ABC (a@b.c), July 23, 2000.


Let me help dispel your confusion.

I asked when did we get the right to decide what law to obey. You responded with Marbary vs Madison. That decision came about because Mr. Marbury, instead of sitting around and whining about the big bad government, got up off his butt and SUED. And he won. That's how we decide what law is or isn't valid in this country. There is no court decision that allows you or me the right to decide a law isn't constitutional.

Once again, if you, George, and the other folks who believe the census questions are unconstitutional stop whining about this and file suit, maybe you'll be proved right. Sue the bastards and stop playing tinhorn lawyer. Or, is complaining about the "loss" of your freedoms just more fun?

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), July 23, 2000.


Why should I spend the money or the time to file a class action suit when I can just run the bastards off my land? I know they are just low paid people that might just be trying to make ends meet... so what?

You yourself, if you want to make the effort, can look back on history and site numerous examples of people in government employment that were just doing their jobs, yet trampeled all over their fellow citizens... all because they were just doing their job... does that make it right?

What part of "WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Why would the US Government want to know how many guns I have if they weren't afraid of my guns? And why should they be afraid in the first Place?... Answer that one honestly and you will have the answer.

-- Mr. Slippery (slip@slide.cum), July 23, 2000.

Mr. Slippery,

No need for those pesky lawsuits in your case - just plug 'em one if they give you trouble.

And you wonder why the government might be interested in the amount of guns you own with an attitude like that?

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), July 24, 2000.

Ya Jim, I do... even with my 'Tude, why would My Gov fear me?

I'd like to say "with your 'tude", why would your Gov. fear you... in your case, they never will.

-- Mr. Slippery (slip@slide.cum), July 24, 2000.

I respect what some posters are saying on this board, but they are sadly misguided. You don't invalidate an act of Congress simply by waving your hands and saying "that's unconstitutional."

The facts are these: Congress authorized the questions asked in the Census OR Congress duly delegated that responsibility to the Bureau of the Census.

Until an act of Congress has been found unconstitutional by a court having jurisdiction over the matter (your local magistrate doesn't count), then the action IS constitutional.

An act of Congress is not unconstitutional unless and until is is found to be. Therefore, at this time, the questions asked are, in fact, constitutional. However, if anyone cares to press the matter in Federal court, the questions could conceivably be found to be unconstitutional. Until that happens, though, no matter how objectionable, intrusive or repugnant some posters here may find those questions, those questions are constitutional.

If you disagree, find an attorney and try your luck. Some folks have succeeded when taking on the Fed. Lots dont. But like the man said, "you can't win if you don't play."

-- Sal Monella (too.much@lawschool.org), July 27, 2000.

Where in the constitution does it say you can not go through a red light? Where in the constitution does it say that you can not drive 80 MPH in a 30 MPH zone? Where in the constitution does it say that 15 year old's can not by booze? Where in the constitution does it say that a teacher can not beat your children? Where in the constitution does it say that houses must be built to safety standards? Where in the constitution does it say that your neighbor can not blast their radio out at 3 am when you are sleeping?

Why don't we just get rid of this government that has so many "laws" that are not in the constitution and are impose so many restrictions on your personal freedoms? After all, you have the "right" to do as you wish without having the bad old government restricting your actions?

Yep, we got it pretty bad in this country, being forced to obay all of these laws the government, in their bid to control our every move, has imposed on us.

Or maybe laws have been passed because individuals have chosen not to behave in a manner that respects other individuals, believing that what they choose to do is ok because it is their freedom to do what they want. Scateboarders feel their rights are being taken away when they are not allowed to scateboard in shopping malls. It is a lack of common sense and selfishness that forces some laws to be passed. If people looked beyond their own selfish desires and acted as a member of society, then a free society would function without having to impose laws forcing them to comply.

I'm so tired of people whining about the government "telling them" what to and not do. It is the people who don't think beyond themselves that that have caused so many laws to be created. In a society of one a person has complete freedom and rights to do as they wish, beyond that, personal freedoms and rights must take others into consideration, or there will be nothing but chaos.

What is so pathetic is people who take laws and rules as a personal attack against themselves. Not realizing that they, personally, are a non-entity as far as the lawmakers and government are concerned.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), July 28, 2000.


-- chris moores (EXSPLOSIVE6917@HOME.COM), December 04, 2002.

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