The US 2020 census is round the corner, and the debates are already rising, particularly on the citizenship question. While President Donald Trump wants the inclusion of the question in the upcoming decennial census, the Supreme Court turned down its inclusion last month.
However, Attorney General William P Barr stated that he began working along with President Donald Trump to find a way to place the question. In the Monday statement, he also expressed his belief that the administration can get access to a legal path to fulfill the same.
Barr defended the President’s question as “right on the legal grounds”. He also “felt the Supreme Court decision was wrong”, which left open the possibility that the citizenship question could be incorporated in the 2020 census, in case the Trump administration came up with a better justification for it.
William Barr said that the ruling “made clear that the question was a perfectly legal question to ask, but the record had to be clarified”, adding that “it makes a lot of sense for the President to see if it’s possible that we could clarify the record in time to add the question.”
Barr also stated, that Trump’s entry into the matter has left little desire among the career Justice Department lawyers to continue. He said that the he understands “if they’re interested in not participating in this phase,” and that they’ll now reach a new decision.
A day earlier, the Department of Justice (DoJ) had announced that it was replacing the legal team that was working on the 2020 census question. On the other hand, plaintiffs asked a judge in a New york court filing on Monday to block the lawyers’ withdrawal, stating that there were no “satisfactory reasons” for change.
On Tuesday, a federal judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York blocked the Justice Department from changing the team of lawyers representing Trump in the controversial legal battle. “Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons’, for the substitution of counsel,” he wrote in his order.
It is a procedural denial, and Furman said that the Justice Department can still refile their request to withdraw the lawyers. However, he also insisted that there is a requirement of “satisfactory reasons” to justify the change at this stage of the litigation.
The Trump administration’s decision of replacing the legal team, and the alliance between William Barr and the President highlight the difficulty in the inclusion of a citizenship question to the census.
The efforts to reshape the results of the 2020 census by the administration received a sharp criticism from the Democrats. On Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed her intensions to schedule a full House vote “soon”, aiming to hold William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The decision came as a disdain towards Congress for defying subpoenas for documents related to the citizenship question.
Pelosi said that Trump’s push to add the citizenship question to the census is part of an effort to “make America white again”.
While the President and William Barr are striving hard for the inclusion of citizenship question, the Democrats are constantly condemning their efforts as “disgraceful”. Chances are still there for the administration to appeal for withdrawal of the lawyers, which would raise possibilities of Trump’s wish to be granted.
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