With a trial over the Census citizenship question perhaps just a month away, there has been a flurry of activity in the last week over whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will have to sit for a deposition. Ross lobbied for the citizenship question, which stands to chill immigrant participation in the Census, despite the warnings from career experts at the Census Bureau about the risk of an undercount. He later claimed, falsely, in congressional testimony that the request for the question originated with the Department of Justice. If the Trump administration is unsuccessful in blocking a Ross deposition, it will happen on October 11, just before discovery in the case is set to be completed.
Observers see an appeals court ruling ordering that a top DOJ official, Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore, be deposed in the case as a sign that the appeals court would also uphold a lower court’s decision ordering Ross’ deposition. So the Trump administration has signaled it will ask the Supreme Court to block both depositions. The U.S. District Judge overseeing the case denied the Justice Department request that he pause the discovery, including the Gore and Ross deposition, while the administration appeals the orders.
A Republican-appointed judge who backed a decision to allow Michigan’s gerrymandering reform initiative on November’s ballot said last week that she faced “bullying and intimidation” because of the decision. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement, who is running to stay on the court, told the Detroit News that it was “unprecedented” that her name was left out of the campaign literature disseminated by the Michigan Republican Party.
“I haven’t seen the party shunning or removing candidates from their literature because of disagreements with their views,” she told The News.
An appeals court in North Dakota sided with the state last week in allowing it to enforce an aspect of its voter ID law that is being challenged by Native Americans. North Dakota does not require voter registration, so people can just show up and vote in the state if they meet the voter ID requirements, which, under the law in question, include documents showing a voter’s “current residential street address.” Tribal members had challenged that aspect of the law because Native Americans are sometimes not assigned street addresses, and they were successful at the district court, which expanded the requirement to include a document with a “current mailing address,” such as a P.O. Box. Last Monday, however, an appeals court blocked that expansion and said the state was likely to win on the merits in defending the tighter interpretation of the law.
The number of early voting locations in North Carolina has shrunk by 20 percent between 2014 and 2018, a ProPublica analysis found. This comes after the GOP legislature passed a last minute law requiring that every early voting place be open for 12 hours a day. Resource-strapped counties are having trouble finding funding to keep each of their early voting places open for that long every day, and thus are being forced to close them instead, ProPublica reported.
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