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Second federal judge blocks Trump admin from adding citizenship question to census

Posted at 11:03 AM, Jul 17, 2019

A second federal judge has issued an order permanently blocking the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census in any form, despite the Trump administration's insistence it has abandoned plans to add the question on the census.

The latest order is from Judge George Hazel who is overseeing a case in federal court in Maryland. New York federal judge Jesse Furman issued a nearly identical order Tuesday.

Both judges will also continue to monitor the controversial issue, saying they will both retain jurisdiction in the case until the 2020 census results are processed.

Plaintiffs in the New York case have asked the judge for additional discovery and to consider sanctions against administration officials if the judge ultimately determines they were untruthful in recounting the motivation behind adding a citizenship question.

President Donald Trump announced last week that he will seek citizenship information from agencies that already collect the data, and will not pursue placing a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The Supreme Court in June blocked the question from being added.

Changes to the census could impact the balance of power in states and the House of Representatives, which are based on total population. Census data is used for the allocation of congressional seats and the distribution of billions of federal dollars to states and localities over the next decade.

The Trump administration has claimed the citizenship question on the census questionnaire was necessary to better comply with federal voting rights law. Critics argued it was an attempt to intimidate noncitizens and Hispanic households and would lead to a decline in response rates and underrepresentation of minorities.