Yesterday, there were reports at every major news outlet saying the same thing: The citizenship question would not appear on the 2020 Census. This morning, Trump said all of those reports were fake news:
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
The reports published yesterday were based on two things. First, a Department of Justice trial attorney named Kate Bailey sent an email to groups that were fighting the inclusion of the citizenship question in court. The email read, “We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process.” This is in writing and was sent to multiple people.
Secondly, yesterday the Secretary of Commerce confirmed that printing was moving forward without the question. From CNBC:
On Tuesday, Ross, in a statement had said, “I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.”
“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question. My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census,” Ross said.
All of which seems pretty official and sounded pretty final. Even Nancy Pelosi got the message:
“Today’s decision is a welcome development for our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at the time.
“House Democrats will be vigilant to ensure a full, fair and accurate Census.”
It’s not clear what happened here but it looks like the Trump administration is not done fighting this. Stories are beginning to trickle out about this but no one seems to know yet what this means practically. It probably means the printing of the Census forms will be delayed. I’ll update this story once the administration issues some sort of clarification about what the plan is going forward.