A federal district judge in Maryland on Wednesday ruled that new evidence in the case of a census citizenship question merits more consideration, opening the possibility that the question could come before the Supreme Court again even after it rules as expected this month.
Civil rights groups who had sued the government over its addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census had asked U.S. District Court Judge George J. Hazel to reconsider his ruling on whether the government was guilty of conspiracy and intent to discriminate after new evidence in the case emerged last month. Files discovered on hard drives belonging to a deceased Republican redistricting strategist suggested he had communicated with the Trump administration about how to get the citizenship question onto the survey and that the strategist had determined that adding the question would create an electoral advantage for Republicans and non-Hispanic whites. In his ruling Tuesday, Hazel wrote that the plaintiffs’ motion “raises a substantial issue” in the case.
Hazel had ruled in April against the question, joining two other federal judges in finding that the government had violated administrative law when it added it last year. But in that decision he did not find enough evidence to support plaintiffs’ claims that the government intended to discriminate against immigrants, Latinos and Asian Americans by adding the question, or that adding it was part of a conspiracy within the Trump administration to violate the constitutional rights of noncitizens and people of color. [Continue reading…]