LOS ANGELES – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel today adopted a scheduling order allowing discovery to begin immediately in the racial intent claims brought by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) in Lupe v. Ross et al.

Judge Hazel issued the order in response to filings by the Trump administration and plaintiffs regarding how to proceed in light of the government’s continued inability to tell the court what it will do to attempt to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month on the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) claim challenging the late addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

MALDEF and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) sued the administration and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in May 2018 on behalf Latino and Asian American individuals, Native Americans, social service non-profits, state legislative associations, civil rights groups, voting rights organizations, and community partnerships that would be forced to divert resources to combat a potential severe undercount in their respective communities.

In addition to a successful claim under the APA like the one the Supreme Court ruled upon, the lawsuit included the unique allegation that the Trump administration officials and others intentionally conspired to deprive racial minorities of their constitutional rights by adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Those claims will now move forward.

Please attribute the following statement to Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel:

“To be clear, orders in several courts across the country remain in place that prevent the Trump administration from proceeding with a citizenship question on Census 2020.  Until those orders are removed or modified, no executive order or other decision can permit the citizenship question to move forward.

“There is nothing talismanic about an executive order.  Such an order does not override a Supreme Court or other judicial decision; nor does it overturn or circumvent the congressionally-established process for determining the content of the Census.  Our government is not a dictatorship.

“There are also no mulligans in the law.  An executive order does not result in ignoring the abundant evidence of unconstitutional racial discrimination that actually lies behind the late addition of the citizenship question to the Census, especially when Donald Trump was integrally involved in the conspiracy to add the question for legally improper reasons.

“MALDEF is now fully prepared to do its part to end this ongoing farce by proving that the question is illegitimate because it was placed on the Census by the liar, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to harm Latinos and other immigrants of color.  Our Constitution does not abide such a devious purpose.

MALDEF is also ready to demonstrate the illegitimacy of any new ‘rationale’ offered up by the Trump administration in a vain attempt to satisfy the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) claim in our case in Maryland federal court.  Only a legitimate rationale — and none has been made public so far — could result in lifting the APA order from the Maryland federal court.”

Read a timeline of the Census litigation HERE