The Justice Department is looking to move forward with printing the 2020 census without a question of citizenship status, a conclusion to a legal question which was ultimately settled in the courts.
As recently as Monday, President Trump said he was “looking at” alternative means to still get the citizenship question on the census or to delay its release until he can come up with another solution.
But, as ABC News reports, the Department of Justice has instructed its staff with printing the census without the question.
From the report:
In an email to plaintiffs of the case today, DOJ trial attorney Kate Bailey said “the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling last week seemed to leave open the possibility that the administration could make another attempt to add the question, if it provided a different explanation, after Chief Justice John Roberts said the Commerce Department’s initial rationale “seems to have been contrived.”
“I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on Tuesday. “The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question. My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census.”
President Trump took to Twitter to share that he was still bothered that the census will not include a citizenship question.
“A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of “Is this person a Citizen of the United States?” to be asked on the #2020 Census! Going on for a long time,” Trump tweeted.
A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of “Is this person a Citizen of the United States?” to be asked on the #2020 Census! Going on for a long time. I have asked the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
Here’s more, from Politico:
The Trump administration argued asking for citizenship would allow it to carry out parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the president has more bluntly said he wants the question in order to find out who is “an illegal.” Opponents have suggested the question is entirely motivated by partisan politics.
By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court last week stopped an appeal from the administration to allow the question to be added to the census without more evidence that it was legal and necessary. The high court’s roadblock presented serious questions of whether the legality of the citizenship question could be settled in time for the census to be carried out according to federal law.
House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, who stands opposed to Trump on the citizenship question, encouraged the president to move on from including it.
“I am encouraged that Administration officials dropped President Trump’s unconstitutional plan to postpone the Census just because he lost the Supreme Court case,” Cummings said. “The Trump Administration put our country through more than a year of wasted time and squandered resources — all in the service of an illegal attempt to add a discriminatory question based on a pretext.”