"There's no evidence in this record that the secretary [of Commerce] would have asked this question had the Department of Justice not requested it", Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in front of the Supreme Court.
"A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won't allow a question of 'Is this person a Citizen of the United States?' to be asked on the #2020 Census!".
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, claimed that by adding the citizenship question, he was "responding exclusively to the Department of Justice's request" for information to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.
"We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process", Kate Bailey, an attorney at the department, wrote in the email.
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Just hours before that tweet, Secretary Wilbur Ross had announced that his department was going ahead with printing the census without the question.
Jody Hunt, a top DOJ official, told the judge that the administration believed there may be a "legally available" path to getting the question re-added while still complying with the Supreme Court's ruling, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by TPM.
Less than 24 hours after warning that he is still "trying to do that", Trump has reportedly abandoned his almost two-year long battle to politicize the census by including a question about citizenship status. - Trump will apparently not become the first president in US history to delay the decennial census.
Opponents of the citizenship question said it would discourage participation by immigrants and residents who are in the country illegally, resulting in inaccurate figures for a count that determines the distribution of some $675 billion in federal spending and how many congressional districts each state gets.
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The Department of Justice later confirmed the question would not be on the census.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal-leaning justices in the decision.
Lower court decisions had also ruled that Ross' decision to include the question was "arbitrary and capricious", in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. (Michelle R. Smith/AP Photo) President Donald Trump speaks next to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington on February 12, 2019. That would benefit non-Hispanic whites and help Trump's fellow Republicans gain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures when new electoral district boundaries are drawn after the census, the critics said.
Trump last Thursday also said he was exploring whether the census, which the U.S. Constitution requires be carried out every 10 years, can be delayed.
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"The census is set by statute so he doesn't have the unilateral authority to delay it", Kelly Percival, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice told ABC News last week.