Court Battles

Judge scolds government attorneys over lack of census documents

Greg Nash

A federal judge blasted attorneys for the Trump administration on Monday after they failed to produce documents she had ordered concerning the U.S. Census Bureau’s plans to cut short its data collection.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh chastised attorneys over the selection of documents so far provided to the court, most of which she said were already publicly available.

Government attorneys reportedly told the judge that they were “not in a position to make that kind of statement” when asked further by Koh whether documents would be ready before the end of planned Census operations later this month.

The same judge previously ordered the Census Bureau to temporarily halt plans to wind down counting operations. On Monday, Koh reportedly questioned whether Census officials were making plans to ensure that Americans living in zones under evacuation orders due to the California wildfires would be accurately counted.

“Are you saying, ‘We are cutting our losses and we don’t care?’” Koh said Monday, according to the AP. “What is the Census Bureau planning to do?”

A separate court also ruled last week that the Trump administration could not refuse to count undocumented citizens as part of the Census, a move that likely would have negatively impacted congressional representation in districts were many undocumented citizens live.

“The President is not free to substitute his own view of what is most ‘consonant with the principles of representative democracy’ for the view that Congress already chose,” wrote a three-judge panel in its unanimous decision.

Democratic officials including New York’s attorney general, Letitia James (D), have opposed the Trump administrations changes to the Census over allegations that the president was seeking to target communities seen as Democratic strongholds.

“President Trump’s repeated attempts to hinder, impair, and prejudice an accurate census and the subsequent apportionment have failed once again,” James told The Hill on Thursday.

“The courts have ruled in our favor on every census matter in the last two years and continually rejected President Trump’s unlawful efforts to manipulate the census for political purposes,” she added.

Tags 2020 Census Donald Trump

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