Former Justice official praises Supreme Court ruling on census citizenship question

A former Justice Department official on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling against allowing President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE’s citizenship question to appear on the 2020 Census, calling it a "great victory for the rule of law."

In a 5-4 decision last week, the high court ruled that the administration had not given an adequate rationale for adding the question to the census, but said that the Commerce Department, which oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, could try and do so later by providing a different explanation.

“We think this ruling — you can disagree about the policy implications and other things — but we think this is a great victory for the rule of law," Edgar Chen, a former counsel to the assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice under President Obama, told Hill.TV.

“To quote Justice Roberts, the rule of law requires the Administrative Procedures Act, which governors the changes to things like the census here has to ensure that agencies offer genuine justifications for important decisions and I think, we can all agree, the census is pretty darn important,” he added.

Chen joined “Rising” alongside former Department of Commerce Attorney General Barry Robinson to emphasize the importance of the census and warn against the implications that the question could have on participation among minority groups.

“The census touches so much of American public life here and it’s so important to make sure that it’s done in an accurate way that counts as accurate so people get the resources they need, where they are,” Chen told Hill.TV.

The comments come after the Trump administration said Tuesday that it would go ahead and drop a possible new citizenship question from the 2020 census in light of the Supreme Court ruling. 

Trump, however, has since appeared to split with his administration, indicating that he has not given up on his vigorous defense of the question.

“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,” he tweeted.

— Tess Bonn