UPDATED 1:23 PM PT – Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Another legal battle may be brewing on Capitol Hill after a Justice Department official refuses to testify about the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The Department of Justice sent a letter to House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings Wednesday, informing him that acting e will not be complying with their subpoena because the committee would not allow him to bring an attorney to his hearing.
The committee had planned on questioning Gore on Thursday about the administration’s decision to ask all census respondents if they are legal citizens.
Some have argued this question could deter respondents from filling out the census form, but Gore and other administration officials have continued to defend the move.
“The department’s letter explained that accurate citizenship data is crucial to the department’s enforcement of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and it’s important protections against racial discrimination in voting,” Gore explained. “To fully enforce those requirements, the department needs reliable citizen voting age population data and localities in census blocks where voting rights violations are alleged or suspected.”
Chairman Cummings previously threatened to hold Gore in contempt of Congress if he refused to testify.