In a three-page order, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman shot down Trump Attorney General William Barr’s bizarre attempt to change out the legal team defending the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
“Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel,” wrote Furman. While allowing the departure of the two attorneys who had left their government departments entirely, Furman rejected the requested departures of nine other attorneys as disruptive to the case. In his rejection, the judge explicitly cited the Department of Justice’s own insistence on a “speedy resolution” of the case due to its “great private and public importance.”
It is presumed that the move to replace the entire Department of Justice legal team defending the census question was meant to facilitate a newly presented “rationale” as to why he question was needed, and one so dishonest or legally spurious that the current legal team was either uncomfortable with or flatly unwilling to seriously argue. Nope: The government team that has been assigned to this case does not get to be replaced wholesale at this extremely late date, the judge ordered. Either make your new, extra-stupid arguments yourselves—or don’t waste the court’s time with them.