This week Donald Trump’s Department of Commerce publicly announced that it was printing the 2020 census forms without the controversial citizenship question, after the Supreme Court ruled that it wasn’t allowed because the Trump regime lied about its rationale for wanting to include it. Trump then demanded that the Commerce and Justice Departments go back to court and win before the census takes place. Now, in an apparent rush, his DOJ has just botched it – again.
Trump’s Department of Justice issued a new federal court filing today, saying that it’s trying to find “a new rationale for including the citizenship question on the 2020 Decennial Census.” Former Obama White House lawyer Daniel Jacobson underscored just how legally unsound this is when he sarcastically tweeted that “They literally just said they are trying to come up with a ‘new rationale.'”
While the law can be complicated, it’s fairly straightforward in some respects. For instance if you go into court and argue that you need to do something for reason A, and then it turns out you intentionally fabricated reason A, it means you’re out of luck. You can’t go back and say “Nevermind that lie, what we really mean is we need to do it for reason B.”
Yet that’s precisely what Trump’s DOJ is doing here – and it’s admitting as much in exact words. That’s what happens when your boss Donald Trump demands that you instantly come up with a phony excuse for doing something, after your last excuse was exposed as a fraud. This new filing fails the same smell test that prompted the Supreme Court to rule against Trump just days ago, so this filing will also very likely fail. Then again, this new DOJ filing probably isn’t so much about trying to actually win, as it is about finding a way to give lip service to Donald Trump’s demand that the case be magically re-litigated and won before the 2020 census.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report