Supreme Court shields Commerce Secretary Ross
by Harvest Prude
Posted 10/23/18, 12:03 pm
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked the deposition of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a lawsuit challenging a proposed question about citizenship on the 2020 census. The move is a partial victory for the Trump administration since the court still allowed the deposition of a top Justice Department official.
After the Census Bureau announced plans to ask all U.S. residents about the status of their citizenship in the once-a-decade national population survey, 18 states and the District of Columbia challenged the move, claiming that fewer immigrants would complete the survey for fear of revealing their illegal status to authorities.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled that deposing Ross would clear up concerns about why the question was added and said there was “strong evidence” the decision was made in “bad faith.” Ross said gathering the citizenship data would allow the Department of Justice to better enforce the Voting Rights Act by capturing a more accurate count of the number of residents eligible to vote.
The Supreme Court allowed the questioning of Assistant Attorney General John Gore go forward, though Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented from that decision. In a statement, the Justice Department called the decision a “win for protecting the rights of the Executive Branch.”
The trial will begin Nov. 5.
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