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Judge blocks DOJ motion to withdraw legal team on census case

Judge blocks DOJ motion to withdraw legal team on census case”

No reason was given, but Attorney General William Barr said on Monday that the lawyer who was leading the team, James Burnham, informed him some of the people working on the case preferred "not to continue during this new phase".

"And I think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the census".

"Defendants provide no reasons, let alone "satisfactory reasons, ' for the substitution of counsel", Furman wrote in his order".

Furman said the Justice Department would be permitted to refile its request if it provided "satisfactory reasons" for the withdrawal of the attorneys and promise that those who previously worked on the case be available upon request.

Another wrench has been thrown in the Justice Department's efforts to replace its legal team defending the census citizenship question.

Furman called the department's request "patently deficient", except for two lawyers who have left the department or the civil division which is handling the case. "When you change lawyers, judges are skeptical", he said.

"The Trump administration is acting like it has something to hide, and we won't rest until we know the truth", he said. They have also failed to produce an alternate rationale for the question, after the Supreme Court rejected the first one as being "contrived".

"If anything, that urgency-and the need for efficient judicial proceedings-has only grown since that time". It also hinted at the possibility that administration officials feared the lawyers would no longer be viewed as credible by judges presiding over the case.

It is "exceptionally unusual" for a judge to deny a DOJ request to switch attorneys, said Sasha Samberg-Champion, another former Justice Department attorney.

Furman told the Justice Department that if it wants to withdraw the attorneys, each of them will have to file an affidavit explaining why they are leaving.

Trump's administration has faced numerous roadblocks to adding the question, including the Supreme Court's ruling that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily.

Furman said he would allow the Justice Department to try again.

But the department reversed itself after Donald Trump promised to keep trying to add the question and notified judges in three similar legal challenges that it planned to find a new legal path to adding the question to the census.

Trump and his supporters say it makes sense to know how many non-citizens are living in the United States.

An Economist/YouGov poll released Sunday asked 1,500 US citizens if the 2020 Census should tackle the citizenship status question.

The Hill reports that Barr has not provided specific details on how the citizenship question will be added to the census.



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