On Monday, President Donald Trump’s administration slammed left-leaning Democrat opponents over efforts to add a citizenship question to the upcoming federal census, calling their baseless allegations a “conspiracy theory.”
In a legal document filed with the court, the Department of Justice called the latest attempts to keep the question out, an “eleventh-hour campaign to improperly derail the Supreme Court’s resolution of the government’s appeal.” A hearing is scheduled for this Wednesday.
They were responding to a document filed May 30, by a number of immigrant rights advocacy groups. In January, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of the Manhattan district, barred the question from being used in 2020.
As reported by Reuters, the Democrats claim that, while the lawsuit was pending, Justice Department attorneys:
“hid the fact that Thomas Hofeller, a longtime Republican specialist on drawing electoral districts, played a ‘significant role’ in planning the citizenship question.”
Plaintiff’s accusations are false, the DOJ writes. The government did not “rely on Hofeller’s work.”
Their opponents are simply “conjuring a conspiracy theory involving a deceased political operative.” Hofeller passed away in 2018.
“This baseless attack on the integrity of the department and its employees is based on nothing more than fevered speculation.”
Plaintiffs filed suit to block the added question, asserting that it is specifically meant to give an unfair advantage to Republicans.
The progressive opponents to the new question have pinned their hopes on demonstrating that Hofeller’s views played a significant part in the crafting of the proposed census change.
In 2015, Hofeller authored a study which included a statement that “asking census respondents whether they are U.S. citizens ‘would clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats’ and ‘advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites'” in any process of redistricting.
Hofeller also wrote the draft of a Justice Department letter which was meant to be delivered to the Department of Commerce. In the letter, Hofeller stated that asking a citizenship question would “help enforce voting rights.”
The matter has been appealed to the Supreme Court. The Justices, a majority of whom are conservative, are expected to issue a decision by the end of June on whether the question can be added in time to go out for next year’s headcount.
The immigration advocates are concerned that asking about citizenship status:
“would cause a sizable under-count by deterring immigrant households and Latinos from filling out the forms out of fear the information would be shared with law enforcement.”
They are especially worried because not counting illegals in the census “could deprive some communities of funds and political representation.” It could also cost the Democrats quite a few seats in Congress.