UPDATED 6:27 AM PT — Wed. Oct. 10, 2018
The Trump administration turned to the Supreme Court to block Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from undergoing court-ordered questioning.
The deposition, originally scheduled for this week, would have forced Ross to testify about the decision to reinstate a citizenship question to the census.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued the stay Tuesday night after a lower court ordered Ross to undergo questioning later this week.
The nation’s highest court must decide how much respect should be given to the decision making process of cabinet members as it considers how to move forward.
The case shot to national attention following the contentious confirmation process for newest Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Whether or not Ross will be forced to testify could come down to Kavanaugh’s first public vote on the bench.
Lawyers tapped for the questioning process represent 18 Democrat-run cities and states who are suing the Commerce Department for reinstating a citizenship question to the 2020 census.They claim the question is a political ploy to stop non-citizens from participating in the census, which could affect government funding for those areas.
However, Ross strongly denied the accusations and claimed the question was reinstated because of a request from the Justice Department.
“We have had a request as everyone is aware from the Department of Justice to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census,” stated Secretary Ross. “We are responding solely to the Department of Justice’s request, not to any campaign request, not to any other political party request.”
The Commerce Department explained that the question will actually help federal authorities to better enforce voting laws already on the books.
The full court is expected to give its opinion Thursday.