New York Attorney General Letitia James slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE on Friday after he said he’s considering using an executive order to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
“We will not sit idly by and allow the President to subvert the law. As we celebrate Independence Day, all of us, including the President, should be reminded that we live in a democracy, not a dictatorship, and must follow the law, even if we disagree with it. We will continue to move forward and make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 census,” James said in a statement.
The attorney general, one of Trump's fiercest legal rivals, called the prospect of an executive order "illegal."
Several lawsuits have been filed against the citizenship question, with one case, in which New York is a main plaintiff, making it to the Supreme Court.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that he is considering an executive order to ensure the inquiry is included on the decennial population count.
“We’re thinking about doing that, it’s one of the ways,” Trump told, saying that administration officials are “doing very well” on the issue.
"You need it for many reasons. Number one, you need it for Congress, for districting. You need it for appropriations: Where are the funds going, how many people are there, are they citizens, are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons,” Trump said.
The Supreme Court blocked the question last week, saying the administration’s argument that it is necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act to be unsatisfactory. However, Justice Department lawyers told a federal judge Friday that the Trump administration is reviewing “all available options” for adding the inquiry.
“The Departments of Justice and Commerce have been asked to reevaluate all available options following the Supreme Court’s decision and whether the Supreme Court’s decision would allow for a new decision to include the citizenship question on the 2020 Decennial Census,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in a filing Friday.
Judge George Hazel, an Obama appointee in Maryland who is overseeing one of three federal lawsuits over the citizenship question, had given the Trump administration until Friday at 2 p.m. to tell the court how they would proceed with respect to the citizenship question.
The census will help determine the number of congressional seats and electoral votes that each state gets, making it critical to how votes will be counted in the decade after it is taken. Critics have panned the citizenship question as an effort to undercount immigrant communities and possibly reduce their resources and representation in Congress.