President Donald Trump is continuing to refuse to give up his obsession with adding a racist citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 Census, but a federal judge in Maryland just issued a ruling that seriously complicates his scheme.
Last month, District of Maryland Judge George Hazel issued an injunction to prevent Trump’s Commerce Department from adding the question and threatened to order discovery allowing plaintiffs to collect evidence that the Trump administration has a discriminatory motive for wanting to add it.
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Recently, a GOP operative’s hard drive revealed that conservatives only want the question added as part of a strategy to scare minorities from filling out their Census form so that their representation in Congress and federal funding for their neighborhoods can be weakened or reduced.
Hoping the Supreme Court would side with him, Trump appealed the decision, but the high court ruled against him, thus blocking him from adding the question to the Census.
Just as it seemed Trump would be forced to surrender, he chose to defy the Court ruling instead by ordering the Justice Department to find a way he can still do it, drawing ridicule from legal experts.
But, once again, Judge Hazel is throwing a wrench in Trump’s scheme by following through on his threat Friday to allow discovery to move forward to find evidence of discriminatory intent.
Despite Trump’s effort to invent “new” reasons for adding the question to persuade Judge Hazel not to order discovery, Hazel refused to buy it and did so anyway, and with a speed that even surprised legal expert Neal Katyal, who commented about the ruling on Twitter and observed that Trump has only himself to blame because his constant attacks on the judiciary are coming back to haunt him.
Federal judge not buying Trump Admin shenanigans on census. Discovery into discriminatory intent will now take place. It’s almost unheard of for the federal govt to get slapped down this fast, this decisively. But it’s entirely deserved when Admin treats our judiciary this way https://t.co/p6pBjToKOQ
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) July 5, 2019
If discriminatory motive is discovered, Trump’s scheme to add the racist citizenship question will go down in flames no matter what flimsy argument his politicized Justice Department makes up.
This ruling is really bad news for Trump and is yet another blow in his effort to help Republicans win elections in perpetuity. At some point, the Commerce Department will have to move on and print the Census forms without the question in order to get the forms to everyone in the country in a timely manner. The Constitution demands it.
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