Census Citizenship Question Back in Limbo

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Sigh:

A day after pledging that the 2020 census would not ask respondents about their citizenship, the Justice Department reversed course on Wednesday and said it was hunting for a way to restore the question on orders from President Trump. Officials told a federal judge in Maryland that they thought there would be a way to still add the question, despite printing deadlines, and that they would ask the Supreme Court to send the case to district court with instructions to remedy the situation.

Yesterday DOJ lawyers told the judge the forms were being printed without the citizenship question. He asked them to put it in writing. Today they declined to do that.

Were they lying yesterday? Or were they telling the truth and Trump overruled them? And are they now really trying to figure out a way to keep the citizenship question? Or are they just going through the motions to mollify the boss?

Like so many things Trump-related, who the hell knows? It could be anything.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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