By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) The Justice Department is moving forward in search of a way to include a question about citizenship on the 2020Â U.S. Census, according to officials with the department following initial reports that DoJ was dropping its effort.
Following published reports earlier this week indicating the Justice Department would no longer attempt to add the question to next year’s constitutionally-required Census, POTUS Donald Trump took to Twitter to refute that, saying his administration had not abandoned the effort by any means.
DoJ followed that up with assurances that, despite last week’s Supreme Court ruling in which a 5-4 majority of justices punted the case back down to lower courts, the department is nevertheless still examining ways to include a question about citizenship on next year’s Census, as per the president’s initial demand.
As reported byÂ The Hill, Joseph Hunt, an assistant attorney general with DOJâ€™s civil division, said Wednesday the department has been â€œinstructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision, that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census.â€
He added: “We think there may be a legally available path under the Supreme Court’s decision. We’re examining that, looking at near-term options to see whether that’s viable and possible.”
Hunt made his comments during a teleconference held in federal court in Maryland. He also said that the department is going to file a motion with SCOTUS that will â€œgovern further proceedings in order to simplify and expedite the remaining litigation and provide clarity to the process going forward.â€
â€œItâ€™s very fluid at present because we are still examining the Supreme Court’s decision to see if that option is still available to us,â€ Hunt noted further, according to the transcript.
Lawyers for states suing the Trump administration over the inclusion of a citizenship question — though it’s been included many times in the past — have argued that asking people if they are citizens of the country is racist, bigoted, and exclusionary.
The HillÂ noted further:
Judge George Hazel, an Obama appointee, who is currently overseeing the federal lawsuit over the citizenship question in Maryland, gave the Trump administration until 2 p.m. Friday to say that it will no longer pursue adding the question to the census.
If not, he asked for a proposed schedule on how he should move forward on reviewing equal protection claims in relation to the questionâ€™s addition to the 2020 census.
During Wednesday’s teleconference, lawyers opposing the citizenship question suggested that Hazel could issue an order that would halt further speculation about the citizenship question’s status.
“Given the way in which this has developed and given the inconsistent statements that we’re hearing from the Justice Department and the Commerce Department, on the one hand, and from the president on the other hand, we think that to effectuate the relief that we’ve sought, which is an injunction barring the inquiring of citizenship status on the 2020 census, this is the kind of relief that’s necessary,” Shankar Duraiswamy, who is representing some of the parties in the Maryland case, said on the call. “And it’s appropriate and within the power of the court.”
Earlier, the president tweeted that reports claiming his administration had abandoned the citizenship question after the Supreme Court ruling were “fake” news.
“The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question,â€Â he tweeted.
The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
It appears as though someone in government — not necessarily the administration — leaked to the media that the White House was giving up on the question as a means of throwing the process off-balance.
For those who still think the president “tweets too much,” this is why he uses the social media platform: It’s his only means of real communication with the American people that isn’t tainted or subject to ‘interpretation.’
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