President Donald Trump’s surrender in his fight to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census may not be the end of the legal war.
One of the groups that mounted a successful challenge to the question plans to continue pursuing its claim that two government witnesses testified falsely in a trial. The New York Immigration Coalition plans to file a motion Friday seeking court sanctions against the government, according to Sarah Brannon, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents the group.
The NYIC said Republican consultant Thomas Hofeller, who died in August, concluded in a 2015 study that a citizenship question would depress census responses from Latin-Americans and give more political power to Republicans and white voters. That newly discovered evidence directly contradicts government claims — and the testimony of two of its witnesses — that the Department of Justice needed the data to help enforce the Voting Rights Act, according to the NYIC.
Opponents of the question — “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” — said the real motivation was to intimidate immigrants and their families and reduce Congressional representation and federal dollars in the areas where they live.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan blocked the government from including the question on the census in January after a two-week trial that the U.S. tried more than a dozen times to derail. The Supreme Court in June upheld Furman’s order, finding that the government’s had offered a “contrived” explanation for its efforts to include the question.
Furman will consider the sanctions request after briefs are filed by both sides.
The case is State of New York v. United States Department of Commerce, 18-cv-02921, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).