The Racist Census F*ckery Is Dead! We Think! For Now!
Yesterday, to the delight of civil rights activists, the Department of Justice formally notified the parties in the ongoing Census litigation that the government would not be including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Then Trump called the information from his own Justice Department and Commerce Secretary "FAKE" on Twitter.
So … yeah, I got nothin'.
Since the Trump regime announced last year that the 2020 Census would include a question about citizenship status, it has been embroiled in litigation about its legality. One of the cases went up to the Supreme Court. After the Supreme Court heard arguments but before it could rule, new evidence came to light, showing the guy who had designed the citizenship question had come up with it to help "Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites." Last week, the Supreme Court shot down the administration's main, laughable justification for the question — that it was totally not racist, and actually to help them with their vigorous enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
On Tuesday afternoon — to my surprise and delight — DOJ informed the plaintiffs in the census cases that it would be printing the 2020 Census questionnaire without the citizenship question.
Timing has been a major issue in these cases. DOJ lawyers repeatedly argued that they needed a final resolution to the cases by the end of June. Although the government's official position had been that it had to begin printing Census forms by the beginning of July, Census Bureau officials testified that the printing could be delayed until the end of October, but would require a lot more money and manpower to finish on time. It seemed like this announcement was the final decision we had been waiting for.
The forms were being printed. It appeared as though the fight was over.
That is, until Trump got on Twitter.
Tuesday night, after both the DOJ and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had confirmed the news, Trump seemed to indicate that the DOJ would keep trying to get the citizenship question on the Census.
And on Wednesday, he doubled down.
But … didn't we just … how did … what are you ...
Trump's temper tantrum notwithstanding, his lawyers are telling opposing counsel and judges that the forms are being printed and the question will not be included with the Census. According to Denise Hulett, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, a DOJ lawyer told a federal judge yesterday that the decision to print the Census forms without the citizenship question was final.
The Trump administration told a federal judge Tuesday it has made a "final" decision not to ask about citizenship in the 2020 Census, an attorney in one of the lawsuits against the government told The Daily Beast. Denise Hulett, counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF), said the government agreed in a hearing to file a stipulation that the forms would be printed without the question.
Hulett told the Washington Post that DOJ lawyers didn't go into detail on why they were proceeding without the citizenship question.
During the call with Hazel on Tuesday, government lawyers did not explain why the citizenship question was pulled off the table, said Denise Hulett, senior counsel with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who also was on the call.
She said Hazel asked for a written stipulation by Monday in the case before him that the Commerce Department "has given up its fight entirely" to include the question in the 2020 count.
Judge George Hazel, a federal district court judge in Maryland, gave the government until next week Monday to put into writing what was said on yesterday's phone call. After Trump's tweets caused mass confusion, Judge Hazel scheduled a call with the parties for this afternoon.
Hopefully, this is the end of a horrible fight that has already terrified immigrant and minority communities around the country. Making misrepresentations to a federal judge would not be a great look for the Trump regime, but it would hardly be a low for a group of people that conspires to rip children away from their families and throw them into baby prisons without so much as soap or a toothbrush.
It's entirely possible that the litigation really is over and Trump is bullshitting to simultaneously rally his racist base and scare immigrants and non-white people -- or that the litigation really is over but his fearless bureaucrats have told him they actually won.
At times like this, it's hard to tell whether Trump is flat-out lying or just expressing his disdain for the rule of law and people of color. But either way, it's fucking unacceptable.
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