Another Obama-Appointed Judge Takes A Swipe At DOJ For Changing Legal Teams On Census Question

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Posted: Jul 10, 2019 6:10 PM
Another Obama-Appointed Judge Takes A Swipe At DOJ For Changing Legal Teams On Census Question

Source: AP Photo/John Raoux

Well, these things usually come in pairs. Another Obama-appointed federal judge has ruled against the Department of Justice changing legal teams for the 2020 Census case. We’re still not out of the woods concerning the citizenship question, which the Trump White House has made a top priority for the upcoming survey. It’s fair. If you can’t vote here, you shouldn’t be counted. Also, this question has been asked before. The Supreme Court only sent this question back to the lower courts for review because the Commerce Department apparently didn’t argue well, and its reasoning for the question didn’t satisfy the liberal wing of the Court, plus Chief Justice John Roberts. They did not say it was unconstitutional. Still, this war between the administration and the vestiges of the Obama judiciary are getting tiring. U.S. District Judge George Hazel of Maryland was the second jurist to throw up a roadblock regarding this initiative. And yes, Trump wondered what the hell is going on, tweeting, "So now the Obama appointed judge on the Census case...won’t let the Justice Department use the lawyers that it wants to use. Could this be a first?" (via NPR):

Two federal judges have rejected the Trump administration's requests to completely swap out its teams of lawyers who have been defending its push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The move marks a setback for the administration as it prepares to make an expected announcement about its new strategy for getting the question onto forms for the census after the Supreme Court ruled last month to keep it off for now.

U.S. District Judge George Hazel of Maryland wrote Wednesday that "as a practical matter, the Court cannot fathom how it would be possible, at this juncture, for a wholesale change in Defendants' representation not to have some impact on the orderly resolution of these proceedings unless Defendants provide assurance of an orderly transition between the withdrawing attorneys and new counsel."

In an opinion released Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York also denied the DOJ's request to swap out its legal team. He called the administration's request "patently deficient" in part because the Justice Department has not provided a reason for withdrawing attorneys who have been working on the cases for months, as is required by a local court rule for the federal court in Manhattan.

President Trump looked as if he had caved on the question, with reports that the surveys for the census were being printed without the key question. Hours later he said that he had ordered the DOJ to look into ways to get the question on the survey. He mulled executive action or delaying the census as well. Recently, Attorney General William Barr induced a level-five meltdown with liberals with his declaration that he had found a pathway to get the question on the census. They also changed legal teams, which brings us to this latest front in the legal war. In all, it was time. Time was the prime enemy, as the lower courts would have taken way too long to settle the matter prior to the printing of the surveys.