Attorney General William Barr said Monday that he believes that the Trump administration can legally add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to add the controversial census question.
The Supreme Court recently blocked the question, at least temporarily, saying the administration’s justification “seems to have been contrived.”
President Donald Trump tweeted on July 3 that his administration “is absolutely moving forward” to pursue adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census, because of its importance.
The president said, “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.”
Barr said, “I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong.” The attorney general added that he thinks there is “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”
The Trump administration had explained the question was necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters’ access to the ballot box. Meanwhile, opponents of the question argued that its inclusion on the census would lead to an inaccurate count of the population, as immigrants might be discouraged from participating.
Earlier, President Trump criticized the Supreme Court ruling over Twitter on July 2.
“A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of ‘Is this person a Citizen of the United States?’ to be asked on the #2020 Census! Going on for a long time. I have asked the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion. USA! USA! USA!” Trump said.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press