Group files motion to halt addition of citizenship question to 2020 census

Group files motion to halt addition of citizenship question to 2020 census

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a motion Friday seeking to prevent Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossMulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Turbulence in the West Wing as shakeup looms On The Money: Amazon taps New York, Northern Virginia for new offices | What it means for the DC area | Dems target vulnerable commerce chief | Earmarks look to be making a comeback MORE from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the group said in a press release Saturday. 

The group, along with Public Counsel and pro bono law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, filed the motion on behalf of the City of San Jose and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration in the Northern District of California, according to the release.

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“This is an important motion, intended to get an expeditious ruling from the Court to stop this ill-conceived action by [Commerce] Secretary [Wilbur] Ross in its tracks,” Ezra Rosenberg, co-director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said.

“The Trump Administration has broken all the rules by attempting to subvert the basic principle of the Census and our democracy — that everyone counts and is to be counted,” said Mark Rosenbaum, director of Public Counsel Opportunity Under Law. “Our motion seeks to upend the covert plan of Secretary Ross to make the Census a partisan weapon of lies and fearmongering by deliberately undercounting the American population.”

The Department of Commerce announced earlier this year its intentions to include a question asking the citizenship status of every respondent. Critics say the question would scare away people in immigrant communities from responding, skewing an accurate population count, which could impact how congressional districts are drawn and federal funding is divided.

The Supreme Court on Friday refused a request from the Trump administration to postpone a trial in lawsuits challenging its decision to add the citizenship question.

The government had asked the court to delay the trial until it resolves a dispute about whether Ross and another high-ranking administration official can be questioned under oath.

The trial is set to start Monday and stems from a lawsuit 17-blue leaning states and a handful of cities brought against the administration. The case was consolidated with a separate challenge brought by immigrant rights groups.

The challengers hope to question Ross and other officials about their decision to add the citizenship question, but the government has argued the challengers should not be able to probe their thought processes to see if they harbor racial animus. 

Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in his request to the court that proceeding to trial would “unavoidably distract the government, including the Commerce Department, from the energetic performance of its constitutional duties.”