For Those Harassed by Unconstitutional Census Workers

Jan 26th, 2013

January 25, 2013

Last year my family and I were mercilessly pestered by U.S. Census takers who surveilled, stalked, and harassed my family and myself.  They weren’t inquiring as to how many people were living in my house as is required under the Constitution (we had already complied with the actual census in 2010).  Pursuant to Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution, the only information they were empowered to request was the total number of occupants at my address:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…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.”

Some have erroneously asserted that “in such Manner as they shall by Law direct” means that the Census Bureau may collect any information it so chooses by any means necessary and with any attending punishment they deem appropriate.  On the contrary, that phrase only means that by law surveys for enumeration may be conducted via mailings, door-to-door, etc.  In other words, the Constitution does not limit the means by which enumeration takes place, whether by mail or in person; this phrase is not a carte blanche, free-for-all for the Census Bureau to ask any questions it likes and employ coercion or even assault in order to gain compliance.

Within the context of the Constitution — the sole purpose of which is to limit the power of government — there is no way one could or should infer that “in such Manner as they shall by Law direct” means that the founders of our Constitution would have allowed the intrusive line of questioning found either within the “American Community Survey” (ACS) or the “National Health Interview Survey,” and they certainly wouldn’t have condoned the tactics employed by the Census Bureau to glean answers to the overly-personal line of questioning found within these surveys.

But that’s why the American Community Survey, or ACS, while sounding like such a benign thing, is really an unconstitutional invasion of your privacy and why those operatives tasked with coercing you into compliance to take it are no better than the Gestapo.  Yes, that’s right.  I am comparing the stalking, surveiling, harassment, and coercion employed by U.S. Census workers to that done by the Nazi Gestapo.  And no, I’m not using reductio ad absurdum or an absurd or outlandish metaphor so ridiculous it proves my point; I’m saying these unconstitutional Census takers are unto Nazis.

Their tools are audacity and a false sense of entitlement.  But challenge them and their “authority” melts, showing it to be no more than bravado: THEY KNOW THEY’RE DOING WRONG!

After putting up ‘No Trespassing’ signs in several places on our property, one audacious woman refused to leave when I told her several times that she was trespassing and ordered her to leave.  Her body language indicated that she was scared and that she knew she was doing wrong, but she refused to leave and would only do so once I threatened to call the police. (By the way we, along with other members of our community we’re told, filed police reports due to the Census Bureau’s repeated criminal harassment.)

And look at this man’s face:

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Look at that arrogance, as if he has a right to be trespassing on my front porch.  Yeah sure, sit down, make yourself at home on my front porch right next to the sign that says ‘No Trespassing’!  Can I get you a cup of coffee pal?

And look at this woman:

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In case you’re wondering what she’s doing looking so authoritative while she’s trespassing on my property at past 9 p.m. on a weekday, she is illegally sticking her hand all the way inside my mailbox, i.e. into my home.  A mailbox is federal property, as in the property of the U.S. Postal Service, and in this case, my mailbox is flush with the front wall of my house, meaning she stuck her hand so far into my mailbox that she very well may have had a part of her body inside my home.  Inform the postmaster in your city about this behavior, however, and they will do nothing.  I guess it’s okay for rogue governmental representatives to violate their own laws; just not us, the lowly law-abiding.

There was also one woman who, when she discovered that she was on closed-circuit surveillance video (installed around my property after my city and neighborhood had a rise in home and property invasions) she became immediately frightened and shocked.  The look on her face was priceless.  I only wish I had that footage but alas it was lost due to a technical glitch.  Still, do these U.S. Census operatives still want to defend what they’re doing as moral or even legal?  The looks on their faces when you challenge them suggest otherwise.  What lies have they been told that they believe give them “authority” to surveil, stalk, harass, and even assault perfectly law-abiding Americans in an attempt to coerce them into answering invasive personal questions that they have no business or constitutional authority to be asking?

The Census Bureau will tell you these surveys are “random” but I find it interesting that many of my fellow dog lobbyists have been recipients of these unconstitutional and invasive surveys.  Hmm.  It’s as if rogue government doesn’t like to be called out on its criminality or something.  Well they sure showed us that we were wrong — when we said that government was trending towards more and more unconstitutionality if not out-and-out criminality — by violating our constitutional rights to privacy and criminally trespassing on our private property, harassing, and assaulting us! (And yes, I said assault, because assault is defined by the law as “The threat or use of force on another that causes that person to have a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact.”  When someone refuses to leave your property — property which they shouldn’t be on in the first place because there are ‘No Trespassing’ signs in multiple places — it must be concluded that such an individual is an immediate threat and is intent on doing you and yours harm because what kind of person refuses to leave your property?  The only people who refuse to leave private property when they are told to do so several times, especially considering many home owners are armed against such threats, are the mentally ill or criminals.  And as our Constitution’s very existence can attest to, just because there are representatives of the government refusing to leave your property does not mean they aren’t criminals and aren’t intent on hurting you.)

Below is a copy of the letter I sent to the local branch of the U.S. Census Gestapo.  You may copy it and use it in defense of you and your family’s constitutional rights should these Nazis ever again come pounding on your door.  If they are there to coerce you into complying with one of their invasive surveys, i.e. for any other reason than to count the number of your household, then they are violating the Constitution.

*****************

<Date>

U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Census Bureau
<Add address>

To ________:

Pursuant to Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution, the only information you are empowered to request is the total number of occupants at one’s address:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…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.”

Some have erroneously asserted that “in such Manner as they shall by Law direct” means that the Census Bureau may collect any information it so chooses by any means necessary and with any attending punishment they deem appropriate.  On the contrary, that phrase only means that by law surveys for enumeration may be conducted via mailings, door-to-door, etc.  In other words, the Constitution does not limit the means by which enumeration takes place, whether by mail or in person; this phrase is not a carte blanche, free-for-all for the Census Bureau to ask any questions it likes and employ coercion in order to gain compliance.  Within the context of the Constitution — the sole purpose of which is to limit the power of government — there is no way one could or should infer that “in such Manner as they shall by Law direct” means that the founders of our Constitution would have allowed the intrusive line of questioning found either within the “American Community Survey” (ACS) or the “National Health Interview Survey,” and they certainly wouldn’t have condoned the tactics employed by the Census Bureau to glean answers to the overly-personal line of questioning found within these surveys.

Regarding the statutes passed by Congress found in Title 13 of the United States Code (USC) which includes § 5 (Questionnaires; number, form, and scope of inquiries); § 141 (Population and other census information), and § 221 (Penalties for noncompliance), it is clearly understood that these statutes go beyond the purview of the Constitution and are therefore unlawful.  Applying the rule of statutory construction, if these statutes are to be construed in a way as to render them constitutional, then “any of the questions” to which § 221 (a) refers are only those necessary for enumeration.  As such, one may only be lawfully fined if one refuses to disclose the number of persons residing in one’s household.

Additionally, the Bill of Rights, Amendment X, ‘Reserved Power to States’ reads:

“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.”

This important Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the States or the people. (United States v. Sprague, U.S.N.J.1931282 U.S. 716; as well as U.S. v. Thibault, C.C.A.N.Y.1931, 47 F.2d 169).

If Congress does not act pursuant to one of the enumerated powers given to it by the Constitution, it is infringing upon those powers which are reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment (U.S. v. Mussari, D.Ariz.1995, 894 F.Supp. 1360.)  Therefore, any legislation beyond the limits of the powers delegated is an invasion of the rights reserved to the states or to the people, and is therefore null and void. (In re Pacific Ry. Commission, C.C.N.D.Cal.1887, 32 F. 241)

Indeed, beyond a head count, the information requested by the “American Community Survey” (ACS) or the “National Health Interview Survey” has absolutely nothing to do with apportioning direct taxes or determining the number of representatives in the House of Representatives.  Therefore, neither Congress nor the Census Bureau has the constitutional authority to require the type of information requested by these surveys since they are not a component of the enumeration outlined in Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution.  In addition, Americans cannot be subject to a fine for basing their conduct on the Constitution because that document trumps laws passed by Congress.

Interstate Commerce Commission v. Brimson, 154 U.S. 447, 479 (May 26, 1894) observed that,

“Neither branch of the legislative department [House of Representatives or Senate], still less any merely administrative body [such as the Census Bureau or the Department of Health & Human Services], established by congress, possesses, or can be invested with, a general power of making inquiry into the private affairs of the citizen. Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168, 190.  We said in Boyd v. U.S., 116 U. S. 616, 630, 6 Sup. Ct. 524,―and it cannot be too often repeated,―that the principles that embody the essence of constitutional liberty and security forbid all invasions on the part of government and its employees of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of his life.  As said by Mr. Justice Field in Re Pacific Ry. Commission, 32 Fed. 241, 250, ‘of all the rights of the citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves, not merely protection of his person from assault, but exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers from inspection and scrutiny of others.  Without the enjoyment of this right, all others would lose half their value’.”

This United States Supreme Court case has never been overturned.

In addition, since the U.S. Supreme Court has determined (and Americans would agree) that “the principles that embody the essence of constitutional liberty and security forbid all invasions on the part of government and its employees of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of his life” then your harassment, surveillance, trespassing, and stalking is that much more conspicuously immoral, unethical, unconstitutional, and criminal.

For instance, your representative had no right to disobey our polite, repeated demands to leave our private property, especially when said property is clearly marked in visible places with signage indicating ‘private property’ and ‘no trespassing’.  One of your agents has now criminally trespassed — meaning she trespassed on land that was clearly marked with ‘no trespassing’ and ‘private property’ signs and then refused to leave when politely asked four times to leave and when informed that she was harassing us.

Further, we have no trust that the agents sent to our door are not intent on doing bodily harm since not only has the city had many reports of violations from those going door-to-door purporting to be something other than what they are, there have been reports of Census workers who attacked, stole from, and even raped unsuspecting Americans who were “guilty” of nothing more than engaging in a dialogue with representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Some of the Census Bureau’s temporary employees may even have criminal backgrounds – which must come in handy given the tactics they employ to coerce survey respondents into compliance – and yet you expect us to engage them?

Do you really expect us not to be intimidated by your representatives?  Do you really expect us to believe that your representatives’ behavior couldn’t potentially do us harm when your agents harassed, surveilled, and stalked us, with one even criminally trespassing on our private property after we politely asked her four times to leave, to which she refused even though we informed her that she was trespassing and harassing us?!  Should we simply give in to your strong-arm intimidation tactics that are not only unconstitutional, but at this point, criminal?  As noted, we have no trust that your representatives aren’t intent on doing us harm when all of their behavior is threatening!  Not only is their behavior grossly unAmerican, it is a bully tactic and one that conveys a threat to us and our unalienable 4th amendment right to privacy and the right to be secure in our real property, person, papers, and effects.

As such, we will not be participating in the personally invasive National Health Interview Survey or the American Community Survey and will certainly not be giving in to the coercion resultant of your criminal behavior.  As even the Better Business Bureau advises, “No matter what they ask, you really only need to tell them how many people live at your address.”  We have done so in accordance with the Constitution.  You need no more from us and so we must please ask that you stop harassing us, stop surveilling us, stop trespassing on our private property, and stop contacting us in any way.

Sincerely,

<Your name here>

Related:

Your Papers Please: Legal team tells Census Bureau to back off

Harassed by the U.S. Census: A Friend Tells Her Frightening Story; Plus Important Video