Judge Jesse Furman rejects Trump legal team changes 2020 census citizenship case

Judge Jesse Furman rejects Trump legal team changes 2020 census citizenship case

Two federal judges have rejected the Trump administration's requests to completely swap out its teams of lawyers who have been defending its push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

But Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of NY, who is reviewing one of the legal challenges to the question, denied the government's request to withdraw the team of lawyers.

"The court shares the concerns articulated in Judge Furman's well-reasoned order denying defendants" parallel motion in the related NY case that a shift in counsel at this late stage may be disruptive to an already complicated and expedited case", Hazel wrote.

If the administration refiles the request, the judge instructed the new Justice Department counsel to submit an affidavit "providing unequivocal assurances" that the change to the legal team won't delay the case any further.

A NY judge says the Justice Department can't change lawyers so late in the dispute over whether to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

But in a filing to the judge in Maryland, the Justice Department said its new attorneys had already started working on the cases and argued that the attorney general has the authority to send any officer of the agency to a state or district to represent the U.S.

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The Supreme Court ruled that although the executive branch has the right to determine the "form and content" of the census, a citizenship question could lead to inaccurate representation in the House of Representatives and in the presidential electoral system.

"If anything, that urgency-and the need for efficient judicial proceedings-has only grown since that time". "But, unlike the local rules in the Southern District of NY, the local rules in this District do not include a requirement that attorneys provide "satisfactory reasons for withdrawal'".

Hazel stressed "the need for a transition of counsel that does not disrupt the orderly administration of justice".

"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. "And I think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the census".

"The Supreme Court did not rule in their favor because they said the administration did not give sufficient evidence as to why the census citizenship question should be there", she said. "We can not ignore the disconnect between the decision made and the explanation given [by the Trump administration]", the majority ruling said at the time.

He said the Justice Department had insisted that the speedy resolution of lawsuits against adding the question was "a matter of great private and public importance". But it was unusual to switch out an entire team of lawyers "in overtime, with no explanation", he added.

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