Manhattan judge denies DOJ's bid to swap census case lawyers

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court

A second federal judge won't let Justice Department lawyers swap out in the renewed census fight, in yet another blow to the Trump administration over the citizenship question fight.

This happens one day after Hazel's fellow Barack Obama-appointed federal judge, Jesse Furman, chose to deny DOJ attorneys' motion to withdraw from the Census case (that one in the Southern District of New York).

If the administration refiles the request, the judge instructed the new Justice Department counsel to submit an affidavit "providing unequivocal assurances" that the change to the legal team won't delay the case any further.

The Supreme Court ruled that although the executive branch has the right to determine the "form and content" of the census, a citizenship question could lead to inaccurate representation in the House of Representatives and in the presidential electoral system. 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.

"If anything, that urgency - and the need for efficient judicial proceedings - has only grown since that time", Furman said. Hazel said that he wants the next motion to include "details of measures being taken to ensure an orderly transition between counsel; specifically, the motion should explain how the withdrawing attorneys are assisting in the transition and the manner in which they will remain available, if necessary, to ensure Defendants' compliance with the Court's deadlines".

He said the case is speeding along and it's been the administration that's been pushing for that speed.

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Furman's refusal came in a case that has proceeded on an unusual legal path since numerous states and municipalities across the country challenged the government's announcement early previous year that it meant to add the citizenship question to the census for the first time since 1950.

Trump's administration has faced numerous roadblocks to adding the question, including the Supreme Court's ruling that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily. But it was unusual to switch out an entire team of lawyers "in overtime, with no explanation", he added.

"As this court observed many months ago, this case has been litigated on the premise-based "in no small part" on Defendants" own "insist [ence]'-that the speedy resolution of Plaintiffs' claims is a matter of great private and public importance", he wrote.

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.

The Justice Department also announced late Sunday that it is assigning a new team oflawyers to defend the president's ongoing efforts to include the citizenship questionto the Census.

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