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Voting Rights
weekly primer
Mar 19, 2019

Voting Rights Primer: Ross Declines To Answer Key Questions About Census Citizenship Question

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was grilled Thursday by the House Oversight Committee about his move to add a census citizenship question. Many of the explanations he gave about damning 2017 emails — emails that contradicted his official justification for adding the question — didn’t pass the smell test. He also refused to say whether he spoke to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions about adding the question, or to anyone else at the White House besides Steve Bannon. Ross was not the only administration figure questioned by Congress last week about the citizenship question. The head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Eric Dreiband, couldn’t specify any voting rights case that the Department had lost due to a lack of citizenship data. Whether the question stays on the 2020 census will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, which announced Friday that it will consider the question’s constitutionality, as well as whether Ross violated administrative law in the way he added it.…

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