Second judge denies DOJ request to swap lawyers in census immigration question case

July 10 (UPI) — A second judge denied a Trump administration request to swap out the legal team for a case related to whether a question about citizenship will be included on the 2020 census.

U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel, of the District of Maryland, again rejected the Department of Justice’s request to fully replace the legal team, stating that proceedings have progressed too far for a new team to take on the case.

“The Court cannot fathom how it would be possible, at this juncture, for a wholesale change in Defendants’ representation to not have some impact on the orderly resolution of the proceedings unless Defendants provide assurance of an orderly transition between the withdrawing attorneys and new counsel,” he wrote.

Hazel added that the Justice Department would be required to provide “specific assurances” that one or more of the withdrawing attorneys would remain available to the new team or provide a detailed explanation for why such an arrangement isn’t possible.

“Defendants must realize that a change in counsel does not create a clean slate for a party to proceed as if prior representations made to the court were not in fact made,” Hazel wrote. “A new DOJ team will need to be prepared to address these and other, previous representations made by the withdrawing attorneys at the appropriate juncture.”

Hazel’s ruling comes a day after U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, of the Southern District of New York, wrote that the Justice Department’s request was “patently deficient” and denied the withdrawal of all but two judges lawyers — Brett Shumate and Alice La Cour — who have departed from the Department of Justice and the Civil Division respectively.

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