A third federal judge has denied a request by the Justice Department to throw out a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s move to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Maryland U.S. District Judge George Hazel Wednesday denied the administration’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit there spearheaded by Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
“Plaintiffs have made a strong preliminary showing that Defendants have acted in bad faith, and that Defendants’ stated reason for adding the citizenship question—to further enforce the VRA—was pretextual,” the judge’s opinion said.
Previously, federal judges in New York and California also issued orders letting lawsuits against the question to proceed, after Trump administration sought to have them thrown out.
Last month, Manhattan U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, who’s overseeing a lawsuit brought by multiple states as well as one brought by the ACLU, dismissed one of the claims brought in those cases — that the question violated the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution — but let the other claims advance.
On Friday, the judge presiding over two federal lawsuits in California, Richard Seeborg, also denied the Trump administration’s motion to dismiss those cases.
Those decisions cited the administrative records provided so far in the litigation that contradict the public reasoning Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census, gave in adding the question.
There is another citizenship question lawsuit in Maryland, brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, that’s also being overseen by Judge Hazel. That case is farther behind in the judicial process and the Justice Department will file its motion to dismiss there on Friday.