But Matthew Wise, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the judge there was no doubt the president intended to implement the order. And Bress said delaying a decision risked creating a constitutional crisis if an apportionment count complying with the order is figured out, and a court tries to stop the president from turning them into Congress.
Under questioning from the judges, Joshi conceded that there was no historical precedent for not counting residents because of their immigration status. But he said the president had the discretion to do so.
After Trump issued the order last July, around a half dozen lawsuits were filed across the U.S., challenging it. Hearings on the order already have been held in Washington and New York, and a panel of three federal judges in New York ruled that it was unlawful. The Trump administration has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The New York judges didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the memorandum, merely saying it violated federal laws on the census and apportionment. That left open the door for the judges in the other cases to rule on other aspects of the president’s memorandum. Other lawsuits challenging the memorandum have been filed in Maryland and Massachusetts, and a lawsuit filed two years ago in Alabama covers the same ground.
The California case was being heard virtually Thursday before three district judges, as required in cases about the constitutionality of apportionment. They included U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who last month in a separate case stopped the Trump administration from finishing the census at the of September, allowing the count to go on for another month through October. A different coalition of civil rights groups and local governments had sued the Trump administration for the extra time, arguing minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the counting ended early.