The U.S. Commerce Department is adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. An activist judge in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) -framing a challenge based on the question being discriminatory- ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross must submit to a deposition to discover “the motives” of the decision.
An appellate circuit panel initially agreed with the lower court and ACLU lawyers. However, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the Supreme Court to stay the circuit court ruling. SCOTUS agreed with the administration and blocked the ridiculous activist lawyers from questioning the cabinet; the supreme court does allow the plaintiffs to question the DOJ civil rights division lawyer.
(CNN) The Supreme Court blocked a deposition of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday in a case challenging the decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
The action is a partial victory for the Trump administration that argued such a deposition of a cabinet official is “rarely, if ever justified.” The court did, however, allow the deposition of a top Department of Justice official in the case, acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Civil Rights Division, as well as other discovery to proceed at least for now.
Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas wrote to say they would have also blocked the deposition of Gore as well as related discovery.
Blocking the Ross deposition is a partial loss for a coalition of states and the ACLU, who are going to trial on November 5 and sought the deposition to bolster their argument that adding the question is unlawful and unconstitutional. (more)
Justice Gorsuch wrote he would have granted the government’s full request and blocked all of the lower and appellate court rulings for depositions and discovery. Writing:
“When it comes to the likelihood of success, there’s no reason to distinguish between Secretary Ross’s deposition and those of other senior executive officials: each stems from the same doubtful bad faith ruling, and each seeks to explore his motives.”
The challengers are led by New York’s attorney general and left-wing activist groups such as the ACLU. They are claiming that President Trump’s real reason for adding the citizenship question is to reduce the representation of immigrant populations in the census. There is no structural basis for their claim. It is not likely their challenge will succeed on the merits. The case is schedule to go to trial November 5th.