The courts and the Trump White House have once again come into conflict. First, it was over his executive order on immigration, erroneously called the Muslim ban, which the Supreme Court affirmed President Trump’s authority in issuing it. Last night, the courts ruled that the Trump administration blocked the expansion of religious and moral exemptions to the Obamacare birth control mandate. Both judges were Obama appointees. And now, with the 2020 census approaching, the Trump administration announced that they wanted a citizenship question included. They made this known last January; the DOJ was pushing it. And a federal judge has now torpedoed that effort (for now); we’re off to the Supreme Court again (via Bloomberg):
The ruling comes after a two-week trial in Manhattan that the government sought more than a dozen times to derail. The Supreme Court may have the last word. It’s hearing an appeal related to the trial in February in hopes of handing down a decision by June, before the Census Bureau has to finalize its questionnaire.
The ruling is a blow to what critics of the question said was a Trump administration effort to undercount Hispanics and other minorities.
"Hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people will go uncounted in the census if the citizenship question is included," U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said in a 277-page opinion. "In arriving at his decision as he did, Secretary Ross violated the law," the judge said, adding the secretary also "violated the public trust."
The judge also ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s rationale for the change -- that it was to help promote enforcement of the Voting Rights Act -- was "pretextual." Furman said the decision was "arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, a federal law that sets requirements for making changes to agency regulations.
And who appointed Judge Furman? Barack Obama