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Trump administration to ask Supreme Court to decide census dispute



President Donald Trump’s administration said on Tuesday it will urge the Supreme Court to rule by the end of its term in June on a bid to implement a plan, blocked by a judge, to ask people in the 2020 national census whether they are U.S. citizens.

The Justice Department said in a court filing it will seek immediate Supreme Court review of the high-profile dispute even before a lower appeals court time has time to consider the case.

Opponents have accused the Trump administration of devising a citizenship question to use the census to pursue the political objectives of Trump’s fellow Republicans by engineering an undercount of the true population and reducing the electoral representation of Democratic-leaning communities in Congress.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan ruled on Jan. 15 that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, concealed the true motives for his “arbitrary and capricious” decision to add the question in violation of federal law.

By seeking high court review before giving the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a chance to issue a ruling, the administration put its faith in the conservative-majority Supreme Court to hear and decide the matter in the coming months, as time is running out before the census forms must be printed in June.


“It is exceedingly unlikely that there is sufficient time for review in both the court of appeals and in this court by that deadline,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, wrote in the filing.

The 18 states, 15 cities and various civil rights groups that filed a legal challenge against the administration said a citizenship question would scare immigrants and Latinos into abstaining from the count. Non-citizens are estimated to represent about 7 percent of people living in the United States.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census every 10 years to count the number of people living in the United States. The official population count is used in the allocation of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funds. There has not been a census question about citizenship status since 1950.


The Commerce Department announced in March 2018 that the government would include a citizenship question. Ross said the citizenship data was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act that protects eligible voters from discrimination. Only American citizens can vote in federal elections.

The Supreme Court previously rejected an administration request to halt the trial in the case, but in November agreed to hear an appeal seeking to limit the scope of the evidence Furman could consider in making his ruling.

The justices on Friday scrapped the scheduled Feb. 19 arguments after Furman issued his decision.


Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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Trump offers to guarantee bail for rapper A$AP Rocky



US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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The best Civil War movie ever made finally gets its due



On Sunday and on July 24, Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are presenting big-screen showings in theaters nationwide of “Glory,” in honor of the 30-year anniversary of its release. The greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War, “Glory” was the first and, with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the only film that eschewed romanticism to reveal what the war was really about.

The story is told through the eyes of one of the first regiments of African American soldiers. Almost from the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., the issue of black soldiers in the Union army was hotly debated. On Jan. 1, 1863, as the country faced the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, rapidly accelerating the process of putting black men into federal blue.

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Trump mocked for tweeting he’ll ‘personally vouch’ for rapper A$AP Rocky’s bail: ‘Now name three of his songs’



Twitter users were both baffled and amused on Saturday morning after Donald Trump tweeted that he would "personally vouch" for the bail needed to release American rapper A$AP Rocky from a Swedish jail.

After receiving a phone call from celebrity Kim Kardashian about the plight of the hip-hop star overseas, the president -- in the middle of a racism scandal himself -- appears to have taken up the cause in an effort to calm racism charges.

Not everyone on Twitter was buying it.

See below:

Just had a very good call with @SwedishPM Stefan Löfven who assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly. Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative....

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