Census Question Hearing Is Trump Administration Clown Show.

THE COURT: So I guess the reason I wanted to have this call, obviously, we had our call — I guess it was yesterday; feels like a while ago, but I think it was yesterday — and then this morning I saw a tweet that got my attention. I don’t know how many federal judges have Twitter accounts, but I happen to be one of them, and I follow the President, and so I saw a tweet that directly contradicted the position that Mr. Gardner had shared with me yesterday.

MR. GARDNER: Your Honor, this is Mr. Gardner. I want to back up just a step and say that I’ve been with the United States Department of Justice for 16 years, through multiple Administrations, and I’ve always endeavored to be as candid as possible with the Court. What I told the Court yesterday was absolutely my best understanding of the state of affairs and, apparently, also the Commerce Department’s state of affairs, because you probably saw Secretary Ross issued a statement very similar to what I told the Court.

The tweet this morning was the first I had heard of the President’s position on this issue, just like the plaintiffs and Your Honor. I do not have a deeper understanding of what that means at this juncture other than what the President has tweeted. But, obviously, as you can imagine, I am doing my absolute best to figure out what’s going on.

MS. HULETT: The President’s tweet has some of the same effects that the addition of the question would in the first place and some of the same effects on the 18 month battle that was just waged over the citizenship question. It leaves the immigrant communities to believe that the Government is still after information that could endanger them.

THE COURT: I assume, although maybe I’m wrong about this, that the parties aren’t suggesting I can enjoin the President of the United States from tweeting things. Maybe you are suggesting that. But I will say my initial reaction to that is to have some concern.

MR. GARDNER: I recognize this is a fluid situation and perhaps that might change, but we’re just not there yet, and I can’t possibly predict at this juncture what exactly is going to happen. I think the process by which we have been sort of operating for the past week, while it may be inconvenient for the Court, and I apologize about that, is to maintain consistent contact so we can keep updating the Court and the parties as to the state of affairs.

MR. GARDNER: Your Honor, this is Mr. Gardner. The one thing I would request is, given that tomorrow is the Fourth of July and the difficulty in assembling people from all over the place, is it possible that we could do this on Monday?


THE COURT: If you were Facebook and an attorney for Facebook told me one thing, and then I read a press release from Mark Zuckerberg telling me something else, I would be demanding that Mark Zuckerberg appear in court with you the next time because I would be saying I don’t think you speak for your client anymore.

MR. DUKE: Your Honor, this is Ben Duke for the Kravitz plaintiffs. Could we ask what happened to the Government’s repeated representations, including to the United States Supreme Court, which the Supreme Court relied on, that June 30th was an absolute deadline and that they needed to have this finalized and to move forward as of that date? Because what we’ve now heard from the defendants is that that wasn’t true, that they now think that they can even dither over the July 4th weekend and ask for more time to examine this and possibly make a further motion to the Supreme Court for instructions on how to eventually undercut what the Supreme Court has already decided. It is completely inconsistent with the positions that they’ve been taking.

THE COURT: I understand that. I suspect we’re not going to get a useful answer to that question, so I’m not sure that I really want to wade into that at this juncture.



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