- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2019

An early Supreme Court showdown over the propriety of asking a citizenship question on the 2020 census was put off Friday when the justices canceled the oral arguments they had planned for next month.

The court didn’t offer any comment about the move, saying only it was removing the argument date from its calendar.

“The briefing schedule is suspended pending further order of the court,” the justices said.

The move likely comes because the underlying issue — whether the Commerce Department secretary could be forced to testify about his decision to add the question to the next count — is moot.

A federal judge last year ruled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross needed to explain his decision-making as part of a broader case about the question. The Supreme Court put that testimony on hold, pending its own oral argument.

But the lower court judge issued a ruling this week finding that even without Mr. Ross’s testimony, there were enough questions about his reasoning that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Trump administration is likely to appeal that ruling, and the case could speed back to the justices — though it’s not clear when.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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