The Justice Department on Wednesday reversed course on the citizenship question on the 2020 census after President Trump told them to find a way.
The Justice Department sent out an email opposing counsel Tuesday announcing the decision to print the census questionnaire without the citizenship question following a defeat by the Supreme Court last week.
Then Trump fired off a tweet Wednesday morning that not only confused reporters, but prompted two federal judges to convene emergency hearings.
“The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning, contradicting previous statements made by the DOJ and Commerce Dept.
The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
Later Wednesday, the Justice Department told a federal judge in Maryland that it has been “instructed to examine whether there is a path forward consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision, that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census.”
Jody Hunt, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, told the judge that if they find a viable path, they plan to go to the Supreme Court for “instructions … to simplify and expedite the remaining litigation and provide clarity to the process going forward,” reported CNN.
The judge asked for more information from the DOJ by 2 PM Friday.
Another DOJ attorney told the judge that they have been instructed to begin printing the census forms without the citizenship question although things can rapidly change since the situation is fluid.
The government previously said they had a Monday deadline to begin printing the census forms, however, the Trump admin asked a federal judge in Maryland late Monday for more time to decide what they are going to do.
At the time of this publication, the injunction to keep the citizenship question off of the 2020 census is still in place.
Click here for the full court transcript on Wednesday’s hearing in Maryland.