SCOTUS Asks For Briefing On DOJ Push To Limit Evidence In Census Citizenship Case

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group

While a trial over the Trump administration’s addition of a census citizenship question is underway, the Supreme Court has asked the parties involved to filing briefings on the Justice Department’s request to limit the evidence considered in the case.

The Justice Department had previously failed in getting the Supreme Court to delay the trial, which started Monday in Manhattan. The Trump administration was successful in convincing the high court to halt plans to depose Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose decision it was to add the question. However, the Supreme Court did allow a top Justice Department official be deposed and also allowed a judge’s order for additional discovery tp move forward, despite DOJ requests that those be blocked as well.

The Supreme Court is now considering the Justice Department’s petition to resolve whether a “a district court may order discovery outside the administrative record to probe the mental processes of the agency decisionmaker.”

When announcing the addition of the citizenship question, Ross said that it was added to respond to a request from the Justice Department for Voting Rights Act enforcement. Internal records and depositions that have been made public in the litigation have undermined that account.

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