Trump’s tweet today sent the DOJ into reversing course on the issue of adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census:
KTLA – The Justice Department said Wednesday that it was still looking for a way to include a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census, even though the government has started the process of printing the questionnaire without it.
The abrupt shift from the Justice Department came hours after President Donald Trump insisted he was not dropping his efforts to ask about citizenship in next year’s nationwide survey. On Twitter he declared, “We are absolutely moving forward.”
I guess Trump finally got their attention.
This isn’t the first time, though, that he’s tweeted he is seeking a delay of the census to give Supreme Court time to rule on it.
The administration has faced numerous roadblocks to adding the citizenship question, including last week’s Supreme Court ruling that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily. The Justice Department had insisted to the Supreme Court that it needed the matter resolved by the end of June because it faced a deadline to begin printing census forms and other materials.
But on Wednesday, officials told a Maryland judge they believed there may still be a way to meet Trump’s demands.
“There may be a legally available path,” Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt told U.S. District Judge George Hazel during a conference call with parties to one of three census lawsuits. The call was closed to reporters, but a transcript was made available soon after.
A day earlier, a Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed that there would be “no citizenship question on the 2020 census” amid signs that the administration was ending the legal fight. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement Tuesday that the “Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.”
Trump’s tweet sowed enough confusion to prompt Hazel and U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, overseeing a census lawsuit in New York, to demand clarification by the end of the day.
“I don’t know how many federal judges have Twitter accounts, but I happen to be one of them, and I follow the President, and so I saw a tweet that directly contradicted the position” that a Justice Department lawyer took in a hearing Tuesday, Hazel said.
I guess we’ll see how they proceed going forward.
The article points out that they are still printing the 2020 census, so I’m really not sure what this way forward might mean.