Trump Orders Justice Department to Find Way to Add Citizenship Question to Census

July 3, 2019 by Dan McCue
California on track to lose at least one congressional seat after 2020 Census (Dreamstime/TNS)

WASHINGTON – A lawyer for the Justice Department said Wednesday that President Donald Trump has ordered it to find a way to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, despite an announcement yesterday that the documents were already being printed.

In a teleconference with a federal judge in Maryland, Joseph Hunt, an assistant attorney general with DOJ’s civil division, said the department has been “instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision, that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census.”

“We think there may be a legally available path under the Supreme Court’s decision,” Hunt said to U.S. District Judge George Hazel.  

“We’re examining that, looking at near-term options to see whether that’s viable and possible,” Hunt said.

Hazel, who is currently overseeing the federal lawsuit over the citizenship question in Maryland, had given the Trump administration until 2 p.m. on Friday to say that it will no longer pursue adding the question to the census.

Now he’s been told that the department plans to file a motion in the Supreme Court that would “govern further proceedings in order to simplify and expedite the remaining litigation and provide clarity to the process going forward.”

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court said the citizenship question could not be added to the census because Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had not been forthcoming about his reasons for including it.

However, writing for a majority on the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the question could be added if the thought process behind wanting to add it was more adequately explained.

On Tuesday night, after the DOJ announced the census was being printed without the question included, Trump tweeted, “The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.”

Judge Hazel then reached out to the Justice Department for clarification.

During the teleconference, Hunt told the judge, “It’s very fluid at present because we are still examining the Supreme Court’s decision to see if that option is still available to us.” 

Judges handling census related litigation, including U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, who has been handling one of the more high profile cases in the Southern District of New York, were notified of the about face by the Justice Department in writing on Wednesday evening.

Census

Trump Administration’s Census Plan Might Leave Out Some Legal Residents
Census
Trump Administration’s Census Plan Might Leave Out Some Legal Residents

WASHINGTON — A Trump administration plan to use the census to exclude from congressional representation immigrants who are living here illegally might inadvertently exclude many U.S. citizens living under the radar in states such as Alaska, New Mexico and West Virginia. Last week, a federal appeals... Read More

Southern States Lagging in Census Amid Pandemic, Hurricanes
Census
Southern States Lagging in Census Amid Pandemic, Hurricanes

WASHINGTON — Southern states have lagged behind the rest of the country in census counting amid the pandemic — and now a historic hurricane season may hamper last-ditch efforts to finish in a shortened timeline, census experts warned Thursday. The Census Bureau has counted about 93%... Read More

Census Bureau Reverses Course on Layoffs After Court Order
Census
Census Bureau Reverses Course on Layoffs After Court Order
September 8, 2020
by Dan McCue

The Census Bureau told a federal judge on Tuesday that it will delay laying off some census takers and will restore quality-control measures it had already begun winding down as the end of the once-a-decade population count nears its end. The notice, in a court filing,... Read More

Internal Census Document: Shorter Count Risks ‘Serious Errors’
Census
Internal Census Document: Shorter Count Risks ‘Serious Errors’

WASHINGTON — Census Bureau officials concluded the shortened time frame for the 2020 count could lead to “serious errors” in the data used to apportion congressional seats and more, according to an internal agency document released Wednesday by congressional Democrats. The document, which appears to be... Read More

This Rural Minnesota Town Swelled With Immigrants. But Will Census Count Them?
Census
This Rural Minnesota Town Swelled With Immigrants. But Will Census Count Them?

MILAN, Minn. — The October chill hit Gabriel Elias like a truck when he reached the airport parking lot in Minneapolis. He recalls surveying the cold, unfamiliar landscape. The trees looked near death. As his uncle drove nearly three hours across the Minnesota prairie, Elias began... Read More

Shortened Census Schedule Cuts Data Review Time
Census
Shortened Census Schedule Cuts Data Review Time

WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau has halved the time it has for combing through data from 2020 census results in a verification process that weeds out duplicate responses and finds people who never responded — a step experts say is key to an accurate count. Under... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top