Obama-appointed judge reprimands Trump Admin over census question, awards fees

Jesse M. Furman, a Obama appointed federal judge has sanctioned the Trump administration, ruling that the White House did not provide sufficient documentation amid its failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Furman said Thursday that the Trump administration’s failure to produce the documents may have been inadvertent, but it was nevertheless unacceptable.

Newsmax reports New York District Judge Jesse Furman, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, granted the requests of several groups, including the ACLU, for the fees on Thursday, chastising Justice Department officials for their explanation of why the documents were not given to the plaintiffs.

An amount was not mentioned in the ruling.

The Justice Department said an error by someone who coded the information in its computer system resulted in the documents not being turned over.

“In other words, (the Justice Department’s) failure to produce the documents was caused by a lapse that would make a first-year litigation associate wince,” Furman wrote.

Furman was one of a series of judges who blocked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census, saying too many procedural steps were skipped.

In their suit, the advocacy groups claimed that the Trump administration’s motivation for including the citizenship question was an attempt to benefit Republicans and non-Hispanic whites in redistricting. The Justice Department argued it was to enforce the Voting Rights Act.

The advocacy groups wanted more documents and to question Trump Administration officials in addition to the fees, but Furman rejected that saying they already had won at trial and at the appellate level.

“Even if Plaintiffs’ allegations are accurate, that would not have changed the outcome of this litigation,” he wrote.