Census case judge blocks DOJ bid to switch legal teams

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

A federal judge hearing lawsuits in New York concerning the Trump administration's attempt to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census said Tuesday it can't switch legal teams without providing "satisfactory reasons" to do so.

Why it matters: It's another blow for the Trump administration as it pushes to include the question in the 2020 Census. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman wrote in a court order that the Justice Department's attorney switch plan was "patently deficient."

What he's saying: President Trump went after Furman as he tweeted his frustration at the order.

"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. Could this be a first?"

The big picture: The order does not entirely prevent the Trump administration from switching legal teams. Furman said any new motions to withdraw must be "supported by a signed and sworn affidavit from each counsel seeking to withdraw" and satisfactory reasons for doing so and to honor any future mandated appearances or court sanctions.

This article has been updated to include Trump's remarks.

Go deeper: Trump publicly weighs executive order on citizenship question

What's next

DOJ bid to switch legal teams blocked by another Census case judge

The Department of Justice's plan to switch legal teams in its attempt to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census was rejected by a second judge on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The order handed down by U.S. District Judge George Hazel, who's presiding over a challenge to the Trump administration’s plan in Maryland, is yet another blow for the Trump administration as it pushes to include the question in the 2020 Census.

Go deeperArrowJul 11, 2019 - Politics

House votes to hold Barr and Ross in criminal contempt

Wilbur Ross looks on as William Barr delivers remarks on citizenship and the 2020 Census on July 11. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The House voted 230-198 to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress on Wednesday for withholding subpoenaed materials related to the failed 2020 Census citizenship question.

Why it matters: Democrats believe the administration's reason for attempting to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is "a cover for a politically motivated attempt to eliminate noncitizens from population statistics ... [thereby] diminishing Democratic power," the NYT reports. Wednesday's vote follows a House Oversight Committee decision last month.

Go deeperArrowJul 17, 2019 - Politics

House to vote on criminal contempt charges for Barr and Ross

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the House will vote next week on criminal contempt charges against Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over their failure to cooperate with a subpoena for documents related to the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census, Politico reports.

The state of play: Although the vote will serve as a good talking point for Democrats, it's exceedingly unlikely the Justice Department will take any action against two Trump administration officials.

Go deeper: DOJ bid to switch legal teams blocked by another Census case judge