Trump Reacts After Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Administration’s Latest Census Move

11 Juillet, 2019, 02:59 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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The legal expert said that the fact that the Justice Department has now changed lawyers to continue the case could also be a strike against the administration.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, of the southern district of NY, scolded the Justice Department on Tuesday for its failure to offer "satisfactory reasons for the lawyers' withdrawal, as required by local rules".

This move followed a Supreme Court ruling last week that didn't explicitly shut down the question, but left the door open for the Department to make its case again.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman wrote that the Justice Department's request to change the legal team was "patently deficient".

The printing of the decennial population survey is already underway.

All of the other lawyers must submit an affidavit that provides "satisfactory reasons" for leaving the case, Furman said, citing a rule from the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of NY. "So they kicked the can, and then the administration said, 'OK we won't put it on there, ' and then the President injected himself into this". He said the government has the right to ask a citizenship question, but it needs to provide an appropriate explanation for adding such a question.

Trump and his supporters say it makes sense to know how many non-citizens are living in the United States.

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The groups who challenged the question in a Maryland federal court are seeking to block that shake-up in the case there, where the judge has ordered discovery on the claim that the question was added with a discriminatory intent. "We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question".

The Department of Justice said on July 7 that it was shifting legal teams.

To date, the Justice Department has not offered details on what that may entail.

Trump has said he was considering an executive order (here) to add the question. The U.S. Constitution specifically assigns the job of overseeing the census to Congress, limiting the authority of the president over it. Attorney General William Barr told the New York Times on Monday that given the department's surprise staffing switch and decision to find a legal path to adding the question, "I can understand if they're not interested in participating in this phase".

Evidence has also emerged that suggests adding the question may be part of a Republican effort to try and redistrict communities that would generally swing Democratic, hoping the citizenship question would lead to an undercount in Hispanic populations.

"Amending the form could potentially cost hundreds of millions of additional taxpayer dollars", Representative José Serrano, who chairs the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a statement.

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