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Federal Judge Denies Removal of DOJ Legal Team in Census Case

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On Tuesday U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman denied a motion to allow eleven Department of Justice attorney’s to withdrawal from a New York case that involves the adding of the Citizenship question to the 2020 Census form.

Judge Furman explains in his three-page denial order, that the Department failed to provide the Court with satisfactory reasons to allow for the removal under the New York District Court rules.

Defendants provide no reasons, let alone “satisfactory reasons,” for the substitution of counsel.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Forum, Order PDF.

The latest court battle involving the Census and the citizenship question comes just two weeks after the Supreme Court majority blocked the Government from adding the question to next year’s Census form.

As Courthouse News explains the high Court ruled, “that the introduction of the question on a false pretext violated the Administrative Procedure Act.”

The New York Times notes that the Judge did grant two out of the eleven lawyers motions to withdrawal as both had already left the DOJ’s Civil Division.

No explanation was given officially as to the change, however, “multiple people familiar with case,” say the lawyers are resigning from the case “out of ethical concerns.”

Late Tuesday President Trump commented via Twitter regarding the Court’s denial.

Wednesday evening a second U.S. District Court Judge, George Hazel, who is proceeding over a similar matter out of Maryland, has also denied the DOJ changing of legal teams, writing, the “court cannot fathom how it would be possible, at this juncture, for a wholesale change in Defendants’ representation not to have some impact on the orderly resolution of these proceedings.”

Judge Hazel noted that the DOJ can re-file the motion “with details of measures being taken to ensure an orderly transition between counsel; specifically, the motion should explain how the withdrawing attorneys are assisting in the transition and the manner in which they will remain available, if necessary, to ensure Defendants’ compliance with the Court’s deadlines.”