Published: Thu, July 04, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump insists he's not dropping citizenship question effort

Trump insists he's not dropping citizenship question effort

Yesterday, there were reports at every major news outlet saying the same thing: The citizenship question would not appear on the 2020 Census.

"We at the Department of Justice have 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", Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt told a federal judge in Maryland. This is in writing and was sent to multiple people. The Justice Department confirmed the move later Tuesday afternoon, as did the Commerce Department.

Calls to boycott the census have been circulating on social media ever since the possible addition of a citizenship question was announced in late March, and #BoycottTheCensus began trending on Twitter nationally shortly after the Trump administration's decision was announced on Tuesday.

Administration lawyers notified parties in lawsuits challenging the question that the printing of the hundreds of millions of documents for the 2020 counts would begin, said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census". Stories are beginning to trickle out about this but no one seems to know yet what this means practically.

After the ruling, Trump proposed asking for a delay of the census.

Hunt said the DOJ 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".

On Twitter Tuesday night, President Trump wrote that the Supreme Court ruling marked a "very sad time for America".

In a court order, the judge said the Justice Department lawyers who defended the case before him past year must respond to James' request for court intervention later Wednesday and include "a statement of Defendants' position and intentions".

Citizenship status has not been asked of all households since the 1950 census.

On the one hand, it is true that the government was facing a daunting timeline.

U.S. District Judge George Hazel is now giving the administration until Friday to decide whether it will enter into a written agreement that confirms it will no longer pursue including a citizenship question on census forms, plaintiffs' attorneys Denise Hulett of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Shankar Duraiswamy of Covington & Burling tell NPR. A Census official had testified at trial that extending the deadline to October under the current budget would "impair the Census Bureau's ability to timely administer the 2020 census" and that it would only be feasible with "exceptional resources".

The court remanded the case back down the chain, saying the Commerce Department could attempt a do-over.

Furman and two other judges in California and Maryland have concluded that the question was improperly added to the census past year by the Commerce Department without adequate consideration.

Members of Congress will soon be able to ask questions to officials about the census process once they return from the July 4 recess.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in NY ordered the Justice Department to report its "position and intentions" by early Thursday evening.

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