July 11, 2019 | From Associated Press
Attorney General William Barr said Monday he sees a way to legally require 2020 census respondents to declare whether or not they are citizens, despite a Supreme Court ruling that forbade asking the question.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to add the controversial census query. Barr would not detail the plans, though a senior official said President Donald Trump is expected to issue a memorandum to the Commerce Department instructing it to include the question on census forms. . . .
James Burnham, a top lawyer in the department’s civil division who had been leading the team, had told Barr that a number of people who had been litigating the case preferred “not to continue during this new phase,” the attorney general said.
The new team may find it easier to argue the administration’s new position, said an administration official, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to comment for attribution.
Barr said he didn’t have details on why the attorneys didn’t want to continue, but “as far as I know, they don’t think we are legally wrong.”
Barr said he has been in regular contact with Trump over the issue of the citizenship question. “I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” the attorney general said. He said he believes there is “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”
The Trump administration has argued that it wanted the question included to aid in enforcing the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters’ access to the ballot box. But Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four more liberal members in last month’s Supreme Court decision, openly skeptical about that justification. (Excerpt from AP News.)