President Trump confirmed a Thursday report by Axios that he's "thinking of" issuing an executive order to include a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
Speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, Trump said "We'll see what happens," and that his administration has four or five options. He added that he has consulted with Attorney General William Barr on the matter.
Q: "Are you going to issue an executive order on the census?"— CSPAN (@cspan) July 5, 2019
President Trump: "We're thinking about doing that. It's one of the ways, we have four or five ways we can do it. It's one of the ways we're thinking of doing it." pic.twitter.com/vp93GpFKQA
On Thursday, Axios quoted a senior administration official as saying "We didn't come this far just to throw in the towel."
Administration lawyers are exploring various legal options.
- A senior legal source said: "The administration is considering the appropriateness of an executive order that would address the constitutional need for the citizenship question to be included in the 2020 census."
- But there is considerable skepticism within the administration that an executive order would succeed. -Axios
Former federal judge J. Michael Luttig told Axios: "If the president of the United States were to issue an executive order, supported by his full Article II powers, directing that the citizenship question be included in the 2020 census, I believe the Supreme Court would affirm the constitutional power of the president to include the citizenship question in the census."
On Wednesday, President Trump responded to reports that the administration had dropped its effort to include the citizenship question, tweeting: "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."
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
And on Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!"
So important for our Country that the very simple and basic “Are you a Citizen of the United States?” question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census. Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2019
Last week the US Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Trump administration's efforts to include the citizenship question, backing lower court decisions which found the government's reasoning for placing a citizenship question on the 2020 question to be "invalid."
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal justices in a 5-4 ruling in the Dept. of Commerce v. New York, in which the state of New York sued over the hot-button question.
"The sole stated reason -- 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," wrote Roberts.
Trump was not pleased.
.....United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter. Can anyone really believe that as a great Country, we are not able the ask whether or not someone is a Citizen. Only in America!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
In April, President Trump tweeted "Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats want to do our new and very important Census Report without the all important Citizenship Question. Report would be meaningless and a waste of the $Billions (ridiculous) that it costs to put together!"