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

Citizenship Question Hangs Over Census Preparations, House Panel Told Political News
Citizenship Question Hangs Over Census Preparations, House Panel Told

WASHINGTON — Although the Trump administration dropped a citizenship question from this year’s census, minority groups told the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday that the question’s specter has haunted preparations for a national count that could miss millions of residents. John Yang, president of... Read More

Reapportionment After Census Could Shake Up Swing Districts Census
Reapportionment After Census Could Shake Up Swing Districts

WASHINGTON — Candidates and political parties have started multimillion-dollar struggles for control of congressional districts that, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data, may not exist in two years. The latest Census Bureau population estimates suggest that a handful of states, including Illinois, California and... Read More

Census Estimates: Redistricting Ahead for California, New York and Texas Census
Census Estimates: Redistricting Ahead for California, New York and Texas

WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau gave a peek at a coming battle within states nationwide over the shape of the country’s congressional district map, with its latest population estimates hinting at fights within Texas, New York, California, Alabama and other states. Those estimates give demographers and... Read More

Census Bureau Counts Federal Inmates as Residents; Critics Call It ‘Prison Gerrymandering’ Census
Census Bureau Counts Federal Inmates as Residents; Critics Call It ‘Prison Gerrymandering’

ORLANDO, Fla. — The thousands of inmates at the federal prison complex in Sumter County, Fla. — including serial child molester Larry Nassar and former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, serving time on corruption and fraud charges — may not seem like actual residents of this county... Read More

Researchers Warn Census Privacy Efforts May Muddy Data Political News
Researchers Warn Census Privacy Efforts May Muddy Data

WASHINGTON — Steps taken by the Census Bureau to protect individual responses may muddy cancer research, housing policy, transportation planning, legislative map-drawing and health care policy, researchers have warned the agency. The problems come from a new policy — differential privacy — that adds “noise” to... Read More

Colonias to Immigrants: We Need You at Census Time Census
Colonias to Immigrants: We Need You at Census Time

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas — In this colonia near the Mexico border, an area of sometimes makeshift housing south of Edinburg, neighborhood residents are learning when to, and when not to, speak up to authorities when you’re living in the country illegally. Caught driving without a license?... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top