Judge Decides that Trump Can't Pick His Own Legal Team in Census Fight

Because why not?

I recently reported on AG Bill Barr announcing that he’d found a path forward on adding the citizenship question back onto the census, where it resided for 175 years. Part of that strategy involved a new legal team that could conceivably fix the reasoning issue presented by the Supreme Court. Getting to pick your own counsel sounds reasonable right?


Well, so much for that. An Obama appointed Federal Judge has decided the the DOJ can not change its legal team in the court case litigating this issue.

This per The Daily Caller.

A federal judge in Manhattan denied the Trump administration’s request to change its legal team in the census citizenship question case Tuesday, adding further complications to the tumultuous litigation.

Court rules require government lawyers to give persuasive reasons for the substitutions in sworn affidavits and show the transition will not delay proceedings, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said. The decision was somewhat unusual, since motions to substitute counsel are usually granted as a matter of course.

Of course it’s unusual. The Supreme Court, while upholding the legal right for the question to be added, asked the administration to essentially re-litigate this in the lower court. Needing to redo the major parts of the case sounds like a pretty persuasive reason to want to change counsel.

Judge Furman’s decision reads with clear hostility toward the administration.

“Defendants’ motion is patently deficient,” Furman’s order reads. “Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel.”

As to the timing issue, Furman noted the Justice Department is scheduled to submit several significant legal filings in the near future, which could make substitutions inappropriate. Furthermore, the attorney withdrawals are especially strange since the case has been litigated on an expedited basis, Furman said.


Again, this case went to the Supreme Court. It’s not like the DOJ were just sitting around on their hands before deciding they needed to go a different direction. The decision at the Supreme Court demanded it. The judge provides no actual evidence that the change in counsel would lead to delays.

I’m sure some legal eagles will run to offer other decisions of this nature, but I don’t buy it as being standard fare. This is the state of judicial proceedings under Donald Trump. Partisan decision after partisan decision is handed down. Judge shopping is standard operating procedure (which is how this wound up in front of Judge Furman). Single, un-elected judges control entire facets of national policy via questionable injunctions. It’s reached a point of pure ridiculousness.

Now we are being told, even after a case went all the way to the Supreme Court and was handed down with major changes being demanded, that a defendant can’t even change their legal counsel to get the job done.

Trump should just play hardball at this point. He’s got the public on his side on this issue. Write up an executive order that bypasses the administrative nonsense, cite the Supreme Court affirming the power to add the question, and print the dang forms. Bypass Furman and his clearly partisan hostility.


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