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Federal judge blocks Justice Department from switching legal team in census case

July 10, 2019

On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York blocked the Justice Department from replacing its legal team for the census case, writing that the department’s request was “patently deficient.”

Earlier this week, Justice Department officials said it would swap its legal team without giving a reason why. U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman denied the department’s bid to do that.

“Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel,” wrote Furman.

Furman noted that the department’s filing in the case was due in just three days, and that the department had asked for the issue to be expedited.

“If anything, that urgency – and the need for efficient judicial proceedings – has only grown since that time,” wrote Furman. He said that the Justice Department could refile its request if it provided “satisfactory reasons” for the attorneys’ withdrawal and commit to an agreement that attorneys who had previously worked on the case could return upon request. Furman also asked the department to “file an affidavit providing unequivocal assurances that the substitution of counsel will not delay further litigation of this case (or any future related case).”

However, Furman allowed two attorneys to leave the case.

In response to this decision, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to lash out against the judge.

“So now the Obama appointed judge on the Census case (Are you a Citizen of the United States?) won’t let the Justice Department use the lawyers that it wants to use. Could this be a first?” the president tweeted.

– MK. II

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