Sunday, 20 October, 2019

Judge blocks government lawyers from quitting census fight

Clarence-4 Cruz: 'Constitutional Responsibility' of Trump, Barr to Go Forward with 2020 Census Citizenship Question
Deanna Wagner | 11 July, 2019, 03:43

A federal judge in NY ruled the US Department of Justice can't replace nine lawyers on the legal team arguing the controversial dispute over whether the administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 census without explaining why it wants to swap out the lawyers.

Eleven lawyers from the Justice Department asked U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman for the Southern District of NY on Monday for permission to withdraw from the case.

"Defendants provide no reasons, let alone 'satisfactory reasons, ' for the substitution of counsel", Furman wrote, noting that the most immediate deadline for government lawyers to submit written arguments in the case is only three days away.

"Upon receipt of a renewed motion addressing the Court's concern, the Court will permit the withdrawal", he said. "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'". He then instructed the Justice Department to find a way to ensure the question was added to the census.

The Justice Department's highly unusual move to replace its entire census case trial team - which came from a DOJ division that specializes in these kinds of lawsuits - with a set of lawyers from elsewhere in the department came after a particularly weird week in the year-long legal battle.

"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!"

President Trump reacted to Furman's decision in a tweet Tuesday.

PM candidate Johnson - 'Very odd' to involve courts in Brexit decision
Earlier, Major vowed to go to court to block his party colleague Johnson from suspending parliament if he tried to use that measure to deliver a no-deal Brexit .

"It's not normal for a court to deny a request to swap out an entire trial team". "No part of this is normal". The Justice Department denied that this had any bearing on the decision, but Trump said precisely the opposite last Friday. "Usually DOJ lawyers are treated as pretty fungible for representation purposes", he added.

Furman's order is a procedural denial.

The changes in the legal team came about after a top justice department civil attorney who was leading the litigation effort told attorney general William Barr that multiple people on the team preferred not to continue, Barr told the Associated Press on Monday.

"The Trump administration is acting like it has something to hide, and we won't rest until we know the truth", he said.

The Justice Department can't replace nine lawyers so late in the dispute over whether to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census without explaining why it's doing so, a judge says.

The Justice Department tried to change the legal team after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 27 against the first attempt by Republican President Donald Trump's administration to add the citizenship question, calling the rationale "contrived".