The Justice Department's efforts to replace the legal team defending the census citizenship question hit another obstacle on Wednesday, this time in the Maryland case challenging the question. Also, this question has been asked before.
"So now the Obama appointed judge on the Census case (Are you a Citizen of the United States?) won't let the Justice Department use the lawyers that it wants to use".
News of the switch followed Trump's surprise announcement that his administration would continue to pursue avenues to add the question, after the Justice Department initially said otherwise. "When you change lawyers, judges are skeptical", he said.
"The staffing change the Department has made will not affect the posture of the case or cause any disruption in this matter", DOJ attorneys wrote. What's most likely happening is the attorneys working this case have rightly come to the conclusion that the Supreme Court has spoken and the case is all but dead. It's the latest in a series of setbacks for the Trump administration as it attempts to add the question to the census following a Supreme Court ruling that sided with those seeking to block its inclusion. "The Trump administration is acting like it has something to hide, and we won't rest until we know the truth", Dale Ho, director of the group's Voting Rights Project, said in a statement.
Pelosi went on to call the citizenship question "disgraceful".
The Justice Department's highly unusual move to replace its entire census case trial team - which came from a DOJ division that specializes in these kinds of lawsuits - with a set of lawyers from elsewhere in the department came after a particularly freaky week in the year-long legal battle.
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But after top administration officials confirmed this publicly, Trump posted to Twitter, saying that decision was "FAKE!"
"As this court observed many months ago, this case has been litigated on the premise-based "in no small part" on Defendants" own "insist [ence]'-that the speedy resolution of Plaintiffs' claims is a matter of great private and public importance", he wrote.
However, those efforts now contradict what was told to the Supreme Court previously, because the Justice Department had said the ruling was needed quickly to ensure the timely printing of the census.
Some legal experts said if the goal was to depress counts in some regions, one way to accomplish that would be to keep alive a losing legal fight because it might feed suspicions about the census and deter immigrants from responding. Thomas Hofeller, a now deceased GOP gerrymandering strategist, conducted recently revealed research in 2015 that led him to conclude that adding the question would "clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats" and "advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites".
The Department of Justice said on July 7 that it was shifting legal teams.