Attorney General Bill Barr said Monday that the Justice Department has found a “pathway” to put the citizenship back on the 2020 Census.
“I think, over the next day or two, you’ll see what approach we’re taking and I think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the census,” Barr told reporters in South Carolina, after a scheduled stop at a federal prison, according to The Post and Courier.
In a 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberals on the bench, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the citizenship question from being added, saying that the Trump administration’s justification “seems to have been contrived.”
For the record, citizenship questions have a long history of being part of the census — the image below is from the 2000 U.S. Census. Note Question 13.
Democrats are concerned that by asking respondents if they are U.S. citizens, illegal immigrants, who cluster in Democrat-led cities, will not participate. The census will effect federal funding and the apportionment of congressional districts, which may result in more House seats for the Democratic Party if more non-citizens are counted.
Playing the dog-eared race card, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday Trump wants to add the citizenship question to the U.S. census because he wants to “make America white again.”
The California Democrat, who would like to hold on to her speaker’s gavel for more than one term, was making a play on Trump’s famous tag line, “Make America Great Again.”
Barr told the Post and Courier that he has been in regular contact with the president on the issue.
“I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” the attorney general said. Barr added that he believes there’s “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”
Prior to Barr’s remarks, the Justice Department announced that it was “shifting” to a new team in the census case.
“As will be reflected in filings tomorrow in the census-related cases, the Department of Justice is shifting these matters to a new team of Civil Division lawyers going forward,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
“Since these cases began, the lawyers representing the United States in these cases have given countless hours to defending the Commerce Department and have consistently demonstrated the highest professionalism, integrity, and skill inside and outside the courtroom,” Kupec added. “The Attorney General appreciates that service, thanks them for their work on these important matters, and is confident that the new team will carry on in the same exemplary fashion as the cases progress.”
There was speculation that Trump had caved on the issue after a DOJ lawyer said the decision was made to start printing the census forms without the citizenship question included.
Not only did the president put all that to rest, he let it be known on Independence Day that the DOJ was hard at work in finding a way to include the question — Trump was reportedly also considering the use of an executive order to make it happen.
“So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a Citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census. Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!” Trump tweeted.
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