Appeals Court Smacks Down DOJ’s ‘Premature’ Census Case Delay Request

Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images North America

The Justice Department fell short in its attempt to do an end-run around a federal judge by seeking from an appeals court a delay in the proceedings in the Census citizenship question case.

The appeals court on Tuesday rejected the DOJ request to grant the delay, which the Justice Department filed before U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman had a chance to rule on the initial motion. The appeals court said that the request was “premature” given that it was still pending before Furman, who had set a Tuesday afternoon deadline for the challengers in the case to response.

The Justice Department, in requesting the delay from the appeals court, had argued that Furman’s order for a response from the challengers amounted to him “implicitly” denying of the request. The Justice Department has argued that the post-trial proceedings in the case should wait until after the Supreme Court resolves a discovery dispute it agreed on Friday to hear next year. The Supreme Court rejected a previous attempt by the administration to delay the trial, which wrapped up last week.

The appeals court on Tuesday said that if Furman denies the delay request, the appeal “will be deemed automatically renewed for our consideration.”

The Justice Department’s failed attempt to get an appeals court to delay the proceedings is only the latest example of the Trump administrations habit of fast-tracking the typical judicial procedure in the Census citizenship question case.

Read the appeals court order below:

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