Harvard Law Prof. Laurence Tribe, one of America’s most renowned constitutional law scholars, took to Twitter on Wednesday to say that there’s “no limit” to the “shit” Attorney General William Barr is willing to “eat” or “throw at the public” at President Donald Trump‘s behest.
“Barr has done it again: He’s demonstrated there’s no limit to how much shit he’s willing to eat — or to dish out & toss at the public and the other branches of government — to please his master,” Tribe said. “Since his real client isn’t the United States but the Donald, he should bill DJT.”
Tribe was responding to the news that Department of Justice attorneys had been instructed to find a path forward for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The Supreme Court last week blocked the question from being added while also allowing the Commerce Department to come up with a different rationale for adding it. The administration said the question would enable it to enforce the Voting Rights Act (VRA), but the justices found that this rationale “seems to have been contrived”:
We are presented, in other words, with an explanation for agency action that is incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decisionmaking process. It is rare to review a record as extensive as the one before us when evaluating informal agency action—and it should be. But having done so for the sufficient reasons we have explained, we cannot ignore the discon- nect between the decision made and the explanation given.
It appeared on Tuesday that the Trump Administration was caving on the issue, considering that DOJ lawyers and the Commerce Department both confirmed that the “Census Bureau […] started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.” On Wednesday, however, President Trump tweeted the following: “The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.”
The news of the Trump Administration reversal came out in a wild emergency conference call with a federal judge on Wednesday afternoon.
DOJ attorney Joshua Gardner was on vacation for the holiday and didn’t know what was going on.
“The tweet this morning was the first I had heard of the President’s position on the this issue, just like the plaintiffs and Your Honor,” Gardner said.
Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Civil Division Jody Hunt confirmed on the call, however, that the DOJ was asked to “examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census.”
“We think there may be a legally available path under the Supreme Court’s decision,” Hunt continued. “We’re examining that, looking at near-term options to see whether that’s viable and possible.” As Law&Crime noted on Thursday, President Trump is reportedly considering issuing an executive order to make it happen.
In short, Tribe blamed AG Barr for all of this. Tribe recently called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a “flagrant dickhead.”
[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
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