Maryland census judge temporarily blocks US lawyers' exit

Andrew Harris, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- The Maryland federal court judge presiding over a challenge to the Trump administration's plan to add a citizenship question to next year's census denied the Justice Department's request to replace its slate of attorneys with new lawyers drawn from elsewhere in the department -- at least for now.

U.S. District Judge George Hazel's ruling comes a day after a New York federal judge hearing a related case barred the government attorneys' exits because they hadn't satisfied local court rules requiring them to provide an acceptable reason for stepping down.

Hazel told the U.S. lawyers on Wednesday that he wanted assurances of an orderly transition between the incoming and outgoing teams and that those leaving would remain available to help their replacements. If the Justice Department satisfies those criteria, Hazel said, he would allow the withdrawal.

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