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American Community Survey (??)

Flying Clay DiskFlying Clay Disk Member Posts: 35,671 ✭✭✭✭
Pick (or anyone else),

You're a pretty scholarly guy when it comes to the Constitution. I have several questions.

Yesterday I received the American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau (Dept of Commerce) which I am allegedly "required by law" to complete. For those who have not seen this survey it is a very detailed survey asking countless personal questions (income, mortgage payments, loans, home ownership, income activities, etc.)

I refute the notion that I am "required by (and under penalty of) law" to complete any such 'survey' based on the following principles:

1. I believe this type of a questionaire violates, at a minimum, my 4th and 5th Amendment rights.

Specifically, here is my basis for this supposition:

1. The Constitution only requires participation in a census for the purposes of enumeration only (i.e. apportioning representatives in Congress).

2. No sampling or other types of information may be collected in the census for the purposes of enumeration.

3. The majority of questions contained in American Community Survey are questions that have nothing to do with enumeration.

4. The Census Bureau has no legal authority to require answers to questions other than those that partain directly to enumeration...and nothing more.

5. Penalties described under US law for failing to respond to census requests are not applicable because no official legal request (notice) exists. Further, no legal request can ever be made for questions which do not deal directly with enumeration which is covered by law. Therefore, any official legal request, were it to be made, would be illegal in and of iteslf and therefore null or defensible.

6. Title 13, Chapter 9, Section 141 of the US Code does not require, under penalty of law, a person to answer questions related to "...other such census information as necessary." It only allows the Secretary to "obtain" such information as available (but not demand it).

(6.5) Note - I would further argue that nothing in Title 13 grants the Census Bureau the legal authority to demand answers about anything other than Chapter 9, Section 301 & 303, which is really only applicable to foriegn commerce or trade....but that is an argument for another day.

7. Enforcement of penalties is limited to Chapter 9 of Title 13, and not to Chapters 5 and 7 (dealing with enumeration) so in any case no penalties are legally justified for failure to respond to even enumeration questions.

8. Consequently, having no authority under Chapter 9 of Title 13 the Census Bureau doesn't even have the legal authority to ask people questions in the first place, and are in violation of law doing so (if confronted with this observation).

9. Lastly, due to lack of properly implemented regulations penalties described in Title 13 are not enforceable for the Census, American Community survey...or even for the purposes of enumeration.

This is my justification for feeling like I am not legally required to complete the American Community "survey" (note: it doesn't even call itself a "census" even though I didnn't go in to that semantic).

What say you?


  • Mr. PerfectMr. Perfect Member Posts: 62,897 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    No legal obligation whatsoever.
    Some will die in hot pursuit
    And fiery auto crashes
    Some will die in hot pursuit
    While sifting through my ashes
    Some will fall in love with life
    And drink it from a fountain
    That is pouring like an avalanche
    Coming down the mountain
  • Jim RauJim Rau Member Posts: 3,550
    edited November -1
    Agenda 21! Need I say more???[:(]
  • COBmmcmssCOBmmcmss Member Posts: 1,174 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Flying Clay,

    I'd have to have a bit more info but will sufficiently remind you that there is more to this than what some will say.

    Just because the words are NOT in our Constitution, does not make it patently unlawful. There are three kinds of Constitutional law: Explicit, Implied and Inherent.

    If our Constitution says the feds can levy taxes, then it is inherent they can create laws to describe how much and implied they must be able to have a group (IRS) to collect them.

    Therefore; there must be some ADMINISTRATIVE group somewhere that enacted some "rule" (read as law) that implies you "must" fill it out.

    Having said all that, I'd balk at it too. I'd want to see that "law" firsthand and examine the consequences of that "law" if violated.

    If you could PDF a copy of it to me, I'd LOVE to examine it and do some research on it just out of sheer curiosity.

  • pickenuppickenup Member Posts: 22,845 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Is this the form?

    Is it in the Constitution......NO.
    Only enumeration is 10 year intervals.
    But then when has the Constitution limited government, or stopped their abuse of power?

    Is it in the United States is written so vaguely, they could get away with asking just about ANY question. Oh wait, they ARE getting away with it.

    Along with 141 in the same chapter (which is what I think you were refering to) to defend and justify their right to such information, they use....
    193. Preliminary and supplemental statistics.
    In advance of, in conjunction with, or after the taking of each census provided for by this chapter, the Secretary may make surveys and collect such preliminary and supplementary statistics related to the main topic of the census as are necessary to the initiation, taking, or completion thereof.

    COB, the consequences.......

    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.
    (b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a) of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is false, shall be fined not more than $500.
    (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.
  • Flying Clay DiskFlying Clay Disk Member Posts: 35,671 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by us55840
    Was the survey sent via certified, return receipt mail?

    No ??

    Gee - did you really get a survey or just talking about getting one. [;)]

    Precisely, hence my item #5.
  • llama girlllama girl Member Posts: 605 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Fill out the part on who lives there and send back with all other questions marked none of your business.Send back bt registered mail they will never find it then or USPS will be broke by then.
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