The night before the Justice Department is scheduled to make its closing arguments in the Census citizenship trial in New York, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Fransisco filed an unusual letter with the Supreme Court Monday “suggest[ing]” that the Supreme Court “reconsider” delaying the case’s post-trial proceedings, now that the high court has decided to hear arguments on a discovery dispute in the case.
“In light of this Court’s grant of the government’s petition for a writ of certiorari, the government respectfully suggests that the Court may wish to reconsider staying further trial proceedings,” the letter said.
The Supreme Court had previously rejected the Justice Department’s request that the court delay the trial before it started earlier this month. The court has since announced that it was going to hear arguments in February over whether a judge could order certain depositions and additional discovery in the case. One of those depositions, of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who decided to add the citizenship question to the 2020 survey, had already been halted by the Supreme Court. But the high court let the deposition of a DOJ official involved in adding the question, as well as the additional discovery, go forward.
Monday evening’s letter is part of a pattern under the Trump administration of the Justice Department aggressively seeking Supreme Court intervention, even when cases are at a relatively early stage in the judicial process. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman last week issued a fiery order when the Justice Department again tried to get the proceedings in this case delayed, and an appeals court also rejected the request.
Read the letter below:
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