A federal judge on Friday refused a Justice Department request to delay a lawsuit against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying subpoenas as part of a House investigation into the Trump administration’s plans for the 2020 Census.
“I think it’s important to get going with the process,” said U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss in Washington, an Obama appointee.
As such, he set up an expedited schedule to hear the suit as the Census is scheduled to start next spring.
In July, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held both officials in criminal contempt for defying the Democrat-led panel’s subpoenas as lawmakers investigate President Donald Trump’s plans to include a citizenship question on the Census, which is conducted every 10 years.
Barr and Ross, in the meantime, “have doubled down on their open defiance of the rule of law and refused to produce even a single additional document in response to our Committee’s bipartisan subpoenas,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the House Oversight chairwoman, said in a statement last month, The Hill reported.
The Supreme Court has rejected a Trump administration request to have a citizenship question added to the Census, has had been done for decades before about 1960.
“I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census,” Ross said in a statement, Reuters reported.
“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question. My focus, and that of the bureau and the entire department, is to conduct a complete and accurate Census,” he said.