White House Considering Executive Order on the Census Citizenship Question

The Trump administration has a 2pm deadline on Friday to explain to a federal Maryland judge how it plans to proceed with the printing of the census. The Maryland judge is just one of three judges presiding over different lawsuits brought against the Trump administration regarding a question planned for the 202o census that planned to ask respondents if they are a U.S. citizen.

Spurred on by President Trump, government lawyers scrambled Thursday to find a legal path to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 Census, despite their conclusions in recent days that no such avenue exists.

Census officials and lawyers at the Justice and Commerce departments scrapped holiday plans and spent their Independence Day seeking new legal rationales for a citizenship question that critics say could lead to a steep undercount of immigrants, which could limit federal funding to some communities and skew congressional redistricting to favor Republicans.

Opponents of the census question claimed victory after the Supreme Court rejected the Trump Administrations’ rationale for including the question. But those who thought the battle was over were surprised when President Trump tweeted out “So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a Citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census. Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!”

The Washington Post reports:

The reversal came after Trump talked by phone with conservative allies who urged him not to give up the fight, according to a senior White House official and a Trump adviser, who both spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Now one of the WaPo sources say that one option being considered is to use an executive order.

Trump has talked of issuing an executive order to the Commerce Department to try to forge a new legal avenue for the citizenship question, having picked up that idea from conservative allies, according to a senior administration official.

An executive order could give the government some leeway for argument, said Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law.

This story is developing.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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About Liz Sheld

Liz Sheld is the senior news editor at American Greatness. She is a veteran political strategist and pollster who has worked on campaigns and public interest affairs. Liz has written at Breitbart and The Federalist, as well as at PJ Media, where she wrote "The Morning Briefing." In her spare time, she shoots sporting clays and watches documentaries.