NEW YORK (AP) — New York state’s attorney general asked a judge Wednesday to help resolve conflicting accounts by President Donald Trump and his administration as to whether they still want a citizenship question added to the 2020 census.
Attorney General Letitia James asked U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman for a hearing over the statements after the U.S. Supreme Court last week decided the question can’t immediately be added.
James cited a Wednesday Trump tweet in which the president said news reports saying the Department of Commerce was dropping its quest to add the citizenship question were “FAKE!”
She also cited a statement by the commerce secretary saying the Census Bureau was printing the questionnaires without the question.
In a court order, the judge said the Justice Department lawyers who defended the case before him last year must respond to James’ request for court intervention later Wednesday and include “a statement of Defendants’ position and intentions.”
Justice Department lawyers did so, repeating what they told a Maryland judge during a hearing earlier in the day.
They said they are considering asking the Supreme Court if there is a way to quickly address problems the high court identified with the citizenship question in time to get the question on the census after all.
Meanwhile, they added, they are taking no actions that conflict with decisions that Furman and the Supreme Court have made.
Furman and two other judges in California and Maryland have concluded that the question was improperly added to the census last year by the Commerce Department without adequate consideration.
The administration had said the question was being added to aid in enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters’ access to the ballot box.