DOJ Begins Appeal Of Ruling That Blocks Census Citizenship Question

Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America

NEW YORK (AP) — The Justice Department began its appeal Thursday of a New York judge’s ruling stopping the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census for the first time since 1950.

Garrett Coyle, a Justice Department attorney based in Washington, filed the one-page notice of appeal in Manhattan federal court on behalf of the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The notice was forwarded to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which also sits in Manhattan.

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman said in a lengthy written opinion Tuesday that Ross violated laws by acting in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner before announcing in March that he would add the question.

Furman concluded that lawsuits were accurate when they claimed the question would lead to an undercount of non-citizens, costing some states congressional representation and federal funding.

Furman also rejected Ross’ claim that the question was necessary to help the government enforce the Voting Rights Act. He said Ross acted irrationally as he badly misconstrued evidence and failed to justify major departures from past policies and practices.

A trial on a separate lawsuit on the same issue, filed by the state of California, is underway in San Francisco.

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