The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on Friday if Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross may be required to testify in a case about the addition of the Trump administration of a citizenship issue to the 2010 decennial census.
The addition of the question, which the opponents say is a political movement that will make the census less accurate and more expensive, has been challenged in six lawsuits throughout the country. In New York, a trial is underway in the federal court on a multistate lawsuit that tries to block the question.
In that case, the judge of the district of EE. U., Jesse M. Furman, made a preliminary finding that there was evidence that the Trump administration acted in bad faith, advancing the lawsuit, led by Attorney General New York, Barbara Underwood, and allowing Ross to be deposed.
Ross announced on March 26 that the question would be added to the inquiry, saying it was necessary to help enforce the Voting Rights Act. States, cities and groups that challenge it say that it will intimidate some, particularly in immigrant communities, of participating and producing an inaccurate count.
This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has participated in challenges to the addition of the question. Last month, the higher court refused to delay the New York trial, but temporarily blocked Ross's deposition in the case. It allowed another discovery, including the deposition of a senior civil servant of the Department of Justice, to proceed. The closing arguments in that case are scheduled for November 27.
The Supreme Court defends oral arguments in the case for Tuesday, February 19 – it is probably too late for the New York judge to consider Ross's testimony, but potentially in time for his testimony to be included in the cases planned to judge in California and Maryland in January.
The government argued that Ross's testimony is unnecessary, saying that he has already explained his actions and that it was inappropriate for the courts to authorize "an intrusive fishing expedition that includes depositions of senior government offices, including a cabinet secretary."
Plaintiffs in the case claim that Ross should be demoted on the basis of the "changing and inaccurate" public and private statements he made regarding his reasons for adding the question.