Michael Macagnone

Trump steers again toward Supreme Court with census citizenship executive order
Opponents of adding question on citizenship to census say they’ll see the president there

President Donald Trump’s expected executive order adding a citizenship question to the census Thursday will meet a swift legal challenge, one the administration appears ready to fight to the Supreme Court again.

Trump said Thursday morning he would have a news conference on the census and immigration and a source familiar with his plans confirmed he will issue an executive order to add the question in response to a temporary block imposed by the Supreme Court in late June.

Spending, legal hoops ahead for Trump on census question

Warming up for the next round of the fight over adding a citizenship question on the 2020 census after setbacks in the courts, the Trump administration’s latest effort faces numerous hurdles in court that could spill out into Congress’ annual spending talks.

The administration has been coy about how it will try to relitigate the question, and Attorney General William Barr told reporters Monday the “pathway” to reinstate it may be unveiled later this week.

DOJ, Trump push ahead in fight for census citizenship question
President has not given up on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census despite court setbacks

President Donald Trump has not given up on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census despite court setbacks, administration lawyers said Friday, but the move faces numerous challenges amid ongoing preparations.

Following last week’s Supreme Court decision blocking the original rationale for the question, the administration started printing forms earlier this week without it. However, Justice Department lawyers filed papers with Maryland federal district Judge George Hazel on Friday, telling him the administration would continue to try to add the question — without detailing how.

Citizenship question dropped from the 2020 census
Administration’s retreat follows Supreme Court decision that blocked question on procedural grounds

The 2020 census will not include a citizenship question, the Justice Department said Tuesday, just days after the Supreme Court blocked a plan by the Commerce Department to add it to the census questionnaire.

Federal attorneys on Tuesday told litigants in the New York challenge to the case that it would not pursue the question. Justice Department spokeswoman Kelly Laco confirmed that the government will move ahead with printing census forms without it.

How the GOP won by losing on census citizenship question
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 159

GOP-held states with growing immigrant populations, Texas, Florida and Arizona, are more likely to gain House seats following the 2020 Census, as well as additional federal funding, if a citizenship question remains off, as the Supreme Court ordered on June 27. In this episode of the CQ on Congress podcast, CQ Roll Call reporter Michael Macagnone and Bryce Dietrich, a fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, discuss why Republican lawmakers continue to back President Donald Trump's plan to add it.  

House Democrats to continue census probe
Panel will resume query into why a citizenship query was added to next year’s census.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee will continue to investigate the addition of a citizenship query to next year’s census, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings said Thursday in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to block the question.

[Supreme Court deals blow to census citizenship question]

Census may be delayed in Trump’s bid for citizenship question
President Donald Trump said Thursday he will seek to get it approved, even if the national count is delayed

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to block a citizenship question on the 2020 census, President Donald Trump said Thursday he will seek to get it approved, even if the national count is delayed.

Hours after the court in a 5-4 opinion held the administration had not properly justified its reason for adding the question, Trump tweeted that he asked attorneys to potentially delay the census in order to bring the case back to the court. That could run up against the administration’s June 30 deadline for adding the question and printing more than 1 billion census documents on time.

Power of New York, Texas hinges on immigrant count
Census will determine which states win or lose in redistricting

Two states that have the most on the line in the Supreme Court case over the citizenship question in the 2020 census are taking drastically different approaches to the decennial count next year.

New York and Texas could have the biggest swings in congressional representation after the 2020 census. New York is projected to lose two seats, and Texas could gain as many as three, according to forecasting by the nonpartisan consulting firm Election Data Services. 

Is the census ready for its online debut?
Census Bureau says it’s prepared for security threats, but watchdogs raise doubts

Next year the federal government will launch its largest public-facing online portal in years, for an undertaking facing risks ranging from foreign cyberattacks to collapsing under its own weight: the 2020 census.

For the first time, the census will rely on online responses, one of a slew of technological upgrades by the Census Bureau that also includes computerized address verification. Those changes have watchdogs worried, despite assurances by the bureau that it will be ready when the census is rolled out in Alaska starting in January. 

Justice Department sides with Treasury in blocking Trump tax returns
Mnuchin rejected demand by House Ways and Means Democrats

The Justice Department released an opinion Friday that backed up the Treasury Department’s decision not to give Congress copies of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, concluding that the “true aim” was to make the documents public and that “is not a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The Office of Legal Counsel opinion comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to comply with a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns from House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal last month.

House Oversight votes to hold Barr, Ross in contempt over census question
Democrats’ struggles with the administration over census have played into larger battles with White House

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress as Democrats argued the pair defied subpoenas in a probe of the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The 24-15 vote followed the Justice Department earlier asserting executive privilege to withhold documents sought by the committee. Democrats claim the question would suppress noncitizen participation and would be used to draw Republican-favored maps. The administration says it is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act.

White House asserts privilege to withhold citizenship question documents
House Oversight Democrats to vote later Wednesday on contempt resolution

The Justice Department on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over documents tied to the probe into the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census, as the House Oversight and Reform Committee neared a vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt.

Chairman Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Maryland, said he would hold the vote on contempt later in the day to allow members of the panel time to read the administration's responses. Democrats claim the question would suppress noncitizen participation and be used to draw Republican-favored maps, despite the administration’s argument that it is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Contempt votes for Barr, Ross planned next week over census citizenship question
Cummings argued that ‘rather than cooperate, they have decided that they would rather be held in contempt of Congress’

The House Oversight and Reform Committee plans to vote next week on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt after they missed a subpoena deadline to produce documents the panel was seeking as it investigates why a question about citizenship was added to the 2020 census, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings said Friday.

The Maryland Democrat, in a statement, called the two departments’ reasons for not producing documents by Thursday “case studies in double-speak,” and said the administration has consistently resisted the panel's probe into the addition of the question to next year's census.

Justice Department pushes back against Democrats’ contempt threat over census
House Oversight panel could vote to hold Barr, Ross in contempt as early as next week

The Justice Department on Thursday rejected document demands from the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee related to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which could lead to votes to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress.

In a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd, the department argued that some of the documents sought by the panel, such as letters between the DOJ and Census Bureau, are protected. The deadline to submit the documents, which are being sought under a subpoena, was Thursday.

No subpoena vote over census citizenship question after officials agree to testify
Chairman Elijah E. Cummings characterized the agreement for transcribed interviews as one step forward for the inquiry

The House Oversight and Reform Committee canceled planned subpoena votes for three current and former Commerce Department officials Wednesday in its census citizenship question inquiry after the trio agreed to closed-door interviews.

Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., characterized the agreement for transcribed interviews of General Counsel Peter Davidson, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Earl Comstock, and former counsel to the Commerce Secretary James Uthmeier, as one step forward for the probe.

Barr, Ross face contempt vote over census citizenship question
AG and commerce secretary have until Thursday to answer subpoenas

House Oversight and Reform Democrats threatened to vote on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress, accusing the pair Monday of rebuffing investigations into the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., accused the administration of “one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate,” in a letter Monday to Barr and another to Ross. He gave them until Thursday to answer several subpoenas issued earlier this year.

It’s not just the citizenship question. 2020 census faces other woes
From cybersecurity concerns to untested methods, last-minute hurdles remain

A project meant to be a decade in preparation, the 2020 census, still faces a number of uncertainties, which experts warn could lead to an inaccurate count with potentially large impacts on federal spending and congressional maps.

Though a pending Supreme Court decision over a citizenship question has dominated much of the conversation surrounding the census, other hurdles include the Census Bureau’s overall funding, cybersecurity concerns and untested methods.

Democrats pounce on citizenship question revelations
Documents show gerrymandering, not Voting Rights Act, was true motivation, Cummings alleges

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee charged Thursday that new documents cited by an advocacy group show that President Donald Trump added a citizenship question to the 2020 census primarily to give Republicans the upper hand in the next round of congressional redistricting.

The documents, which allegedly show that a Republican strategist pushed the administration to include the question for partisan gain, were revealed amid months of conflict between the committee and the administration that culminated recently in the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division defying a subpoena. They also emerged as the Supreme Court nears a decision on a challenge to the citizenship question.

This obscure 1973 memo kept Mueller from considering a Trump indictment
The memo itself is not law, but it is the Justice Department's binding interpretation of law governing its own conduct

The obscure government memorandum that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III says prevented him from pursuing criminal charges against President Donald Trump points at one avenue for dealing with a misbehaving president: impeachment.

During his first public remarks since taking over the Russia investigation two years ago, Mueller made clear that he never considered indicting Trump, regardless of the findings of his investigation, partially because a 1973 Office of Legal Counsel memorandum prevented him from doing so.

Worries persist despite additional billions for census
Concerns about potential undercounting remain among lawmakers from both parties, even with increased funding

House appropriators this week included a hefty boost for the 2020 census above the proposal from the Trump administration, but concerns about potential undercounting remain among lawmakers from both parties.

They fear that despite the additional money, the Commerce Department hasn’t adequately geared up for decennial population count. Democrats continue to oppose a controversial citizenship question they say will depress immigrant response, while some Republicans worry that the use of online questionnaires will lead to shortfalls in rural areas.