Federal judges are now ordering Trump to clarify his census citizenship remarks

Trump Census
(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Not even federal judges know what's going on with the 2020 census.

After a bevvy of court cases and even a decision by the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed Tuesday that there would be no question of citizenship on the 2020 census. Yet just hours later, President Trump tweeted that the Commerce Department wasn't actually "dropping its quest" for the question, prompting two federal judges to demand his officials clarify the whole situation.

Despite the DOJ saying Tuesday that the census questionnaire was already on the printing presses, a spokesperson didn't give an answer when CNN asked for comment on Trump's tweets Wednesday. A federal judge in New York state then ordered the administration to "respond in writing" about its "position and intentions" regarding the question by 6 p.m. Wednesday, CNN notes.

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Things were made even more complicated given that, in a Maryland federal court on Tuesday, DOJ officials had doubled down in saying the decision to leave out the question was "final." The judge in that case had asked both sides to write down how the census would proceed from there, with a deadline of next week. But on Wednesday, he moved that deadline up to Friday at 2 p.m., NPR reports. It all adds up to one confusing census process which, as The Washington Post's Plum Line blog notes, might already be affecting its response rates.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.