Trump’s Attorney General Says It’s Ok for Him to Ignore the Supreme Court
July 9th 2019
By Lisa Needham
William Barr, despite being the attorney general of the United States, doesn’t think he or his boss have to listen to the Supreme Court.
On Monday, Barr told the Associated Press that he thinks the administration can get the citizenship question on the 2020 Census, despite being told by the Supreme Court that they couldn’t do so.
Barr didn’t provide any rationale, legal or otherwise, for his belief that a Supreme Court decision doesn’t need to be followed. Instead, he just declared “the president is right on the legal grounds” and that he “felt the Supreme Court decision was wrong.”
Generally, simply feeling that a court decision is incorrect isn’t a reason not to follow it, particularly when the Supreme Court has weighed in. But Barr and Trump don’t care.
Trump is determined to get his racist question onto the census form so that he can, in the words of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, “make America white again.”
One of the shortcomings of the Supreme Court’s decision on the census matter was that it left open the possibility that the question could appear on the census should the administration do a better job manufacturing a reason it needed to do so. That seems to be what Barr is planning to do, saying 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.”
Barr is moving forward with this plan despite the fact he had to replace the entire legal team working the case. The previous team had told the Supreme Court that if they didn’t have an answer on the census question before June 30, the cutoff for printing the census forms, they’d have to wait and put the question on the 2030 census.
Of course, Trump’s childish insistence on getting his way put those lawyers in an impossible position: Besides needing to invent a new reason to get the citizenship question on the census, they also would have to admit they misled the Supreme Court about the June 30 cutoff date
Barr, though, is spinning the team change as “a logical breaking point since a new decision would be made” and insisted lawyers who didn’t want to continue working on the case “don’t think we are legally wrong.”
The new legal team includes a former Trump White House lawyer and an attorney who had previously worked for extremely conservative retired GOP Senator Orrin Hatch. They’ll likely find it quite easy to say whatever Trump wants them to. And since Barr has already made clear that he’ll do anything for Trump, this new legal team will probably get along just fine.
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