Court denies Trump administration’s appeal in census suit
WASHINGTON — An appeals court Tuesday denied the Trump administration’s efforts to block the deposition of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a lawsuit challenging the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
The ruling gives both sides 48 hours for appeals to the Supreme Court. Last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denied the administration’s request for the Supreme Court to temporarily block the deposition of Ross and Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore.
The government has sought to shield Ross from answering questions about his decision to add a question about respondents’ citizenship, which attorneys general from 17 states, the District of Columbia, and several cities say discriminates against predominantly immigrant communities and would result in an inaccurate and more costly count.
The administration can now ask the Supreme Court to permanently block the depositions. The trial in the suit is scheduled to start Nov. 5 at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
‘‘The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to block discovery in our suit — and courts have repeatedly rejected their attempts,’’ said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who is leading the lawsuit. ‘‘You have to wonder what they’re trying to hide. We’ll get to the bottom of how the decision to demand citizenship status was made, as we continue our case to ensure a full and fair census.’’
The Department of Commerce did not have an immediate comment regarding the ruling.