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Federal Judge To Trump DOJ: You Can't Change Legal Teams For The 2020 Census Case

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

This is becoming tiring, folks. We have yet another instance where a federal judge appointed by former President Barack Obama telling the Department of Justice they simply cannot switch legal teams concerning the citizenship question for the 2020 census. The move was made after the Trump White House decided that they were going to look for ways to add the key question to the survey after the Supreme Court sent this question back to the lower courts for review in a 5-4 decision; Chief Justice Roberts sided with the liberals. The question is not unconstitutional, but there was no time for this legal matter to be decided prior to the printing of the surveys. For a brief period, it looked like the Trump administration would conduct the census without this question. He then changed his mind. President Trump mulled delaying the census or taking executive action. He then ordered the DOJ to look into ways to put the question on the forms. Switching legal teams was part of that overhaul (via WaPo):


A federal judge in New York on Tuesday denied a bid from the Justice Department to replace the team of lawyers on the census citizenship question case, writing that its request to do so was “patently deficient.”

The department had earlier this week announced its intention to swap out the legal team on the case — without saying exactly why. A person familiar with the matter said the decision was driven in part by frustration among at least some of the career lawyers who had been assigned to the case about how it was being handled, though the department wanted to replace those in both career and political positions.

But U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman denied the formal, legal bid to do so.

“Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel,” Furman wrote. He also noted that a filing in the case was due from the department in just three days, and that the department had previously pushed for the matter to be moved along quickly.


Furman said the department could refile its request, if it gave “satisfactory reasons” for the attorneys’ withdrawal and promise that the attorneys who had worked the case previously would be available upon request. The judge also asked the department to “file an affidavit providing unequivocal assurances that the substitution of counsel will not delay further litigation of this case (or any future related case).”

Furman did allow two attorneys, who had previously left the Justice Department, to be removed.

The judge’s decision was latest development in the continuing effort by the Trump administration to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.


Democrats are very worried, and rightfully so, that this question could cut into their power on the Hill. They’ve been able to increase their clout in D.C. thanks to illegal aliens. The citizenship question could decrease the number of congressional districts in deep blue states, California especially. Attorney General Barr announced that a pathway to get this question on the survey had been found, which sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi into meltdown mode. It’s not a racist question. It’s been included before and it’s fair. If you can’t vote here, you shouldn’t be counted. Period. This is again another confrontation between the remnants of the Obama judiciary’s and the Trump White House’s agenda. 

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