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Justice Department Botches Even The Simplest Of Tasks In Census Case

Justice Department Botches Even The Simplest Of Tasks In Census Case

A judge in NY on Tuesday denied the U.S. Department of Justice's request to shake up the legal team that was handling cases on the 2020 Census, adding another hurdle to the Trump administration's bid to put a contentious citizenship question on the survey.

"It's fascinating to me we're at a weird place in American where President Donald Trump is being asked why he wants this question included in te census and Democrat aren't being asked why they don't [want it included]", White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said during an interview with Fox News this week.

"Defendants provide no reasons, let alone 'satisfactory reasons, ' for the substitution of counsel", Furman wrote.

"The Justice Department owes the public and the courts an explanation for its unprecedented substitution of the entire legal team that has been working on this case".

On Sunday, the Justice Department announced it would be replacing its legal team defending the inclusion of the citizenship question.

Eleven lawyers from the Justice Department asked U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman for the Southern District of NY on Monday for permission to withdraw from the case.

To now risk a slowdown by changing lawyers with no explanation is unwarranted, he said.

"The Trump administration is acting like it has something to hide, and we won't rest until we know the truth", he said. The Supreme Court said the administration could offer another plausible rationale for adding the question.

"If anything, that urgency-and the need for efficient judicial proceedings-has only grown since that time".

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If he doesn't, the relationship between the two countries could get strained, which is far more problematic for Britain than for the United States.

It is "exceptionally unusual" for a judge to deny a DOJ request to switch attorneys, said Sasha Samberg-Champion, another former Justice Department attorney.

"That's why they're fighting the census", she added.

But nine other lawyers were ordered to remain on the case - for now.

Furman's order is a procedural denial.

The Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, initially said last week that printing of census forms that did not include the question had already begun.

Furman told the Justice Department that if it wants to withdraw the attorneys, each of them will have to file an affidavit explaining why they are leaving.

Trump and his supporters say it makes sense to know how many non-citizens are living in the United States.

Civil rights groups have argued that asking about citizenship status may discourage immigrants from participating in the census, producing an undercount of immigrants, particularly immigrants of color, in official tallies.

Serrano said he has "no intention of allowing this flagrant waste of money", urging Trump to give up his fight to add a question about citizenship.