A federal judge in Manhattan issued a blistering decision denying the Justice Department’s “galling” request that he delay the proceedings in the census citizenship question case, where the trial wrapped up last week.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman called the request the administration’s “latest and strangest effort” in its crusade to delay proceedings in the case. He said what made the request “most puzzling, if not sanctionable” is that the Trump administration had made a similar request before the trial started, and had been rejected by not only the district court judge, but by an appeals court and the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has since said it will hear arguments in February over a discovery dispute in the case, which the Justice Department pointed to as a reason to delay Furman’s post-trial proceedings, including his final judgement.
Furman on Tuesday pointed out that when the Supreme Court announced last week it was taking up the case, “it knew that this Court had completed trial, and it presumably expected that the Court would enter final judgment before the date that it set for oral argument.”
The judge also bashed the administration for taking its request to an appeals court before he had a chance to rule on it. The appeals court has already denied that request as premature.
“If Defendants’ motion in this Court comes close to the sanctionable line, that filing would sure seem to cross it,” Furman wrote in his order.
Here are some other choice lines from Furman’s order:
- “Unless burdening Plaintiffs and the federal courts with make-work is a feature of Defendants’ litigation strategy, as opposed to a bug, it is hard to see the point. To borrow from Camus, “[o]ne must imagine Sisyphus happy.” “
- “Tellingly, this time, Defendants do not even attempt to argue that they are entitled to the extraordinary relief of a stay of all proceedings under the traditional factors…In fact, the words ‘harm” and ‘injury’ do not appear anywhere in their motion. That is for good reason, as the notion that they — or anyone else — would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ without a stay is laughable.”
- “Defendants’ motion makes so little sense, even on its own terms, that it is hard to understand as anything but an attempt to avoid a timely decision on the merits altogether. “
- “Enough is enough.”
Read the full order below: