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U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform v. Garland

The House Oversight and Reform Committee sued Attorney General William P. Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for refusing to comply with subpoenas the Committee issued as part of its investigation into the Trump Administration’s unsuccessful attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Last Updated: April 20, 2021
Published: January 13, 2020

Note: The Bren­nan Center is not a parti­cipant in this case.

Summary

The House Over­sight and Reform Commit­tee sued Attor­ney General William P. Barr and Secret­ary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for refus­ing to comply with subpoenas the Commit­tee issued as part of its invest­ig­a­tion into the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion’s unsuc­cess­ful attempt to add a citizen­ship ques­tion to the 2020 Census.

Case Back­ground

The House Over­sight and Reform Commit­tee sued Attor­ney General William Barr and Secret­ary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for defy­ing the Commit­tee’s request for unre­dac­ted docu­ments related to the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion’s unsuc­cess­ful attempt to add a citizen­ship ques­tion to the 2020 Census. The Commit­tee conten­ded that the subpoenaed docu­ments “go to the heart” of its invest­ig­a­tion into the origins of the ques­tion. The Commit­tee claimed that Attor­ney General Barr and Secret­ary Ross lacked the legal power to disobey the subpoenas, which the Commit­tee issued under the powers gran­ted to it by Article I of the U.S. Consti­tu­tion. 

The Commit­tee asked the court for declar­at­ory and injunct­ive relief compel­ling Attor­ney General Barr and Secret­ary Ross defend­ants to imme­di­ately produce the subpoenaed docu­ments.

On Octo­ber 6, 2020, the court issued a stay of this case pending the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Judi­ciary v. McGahn.

On August 30, 2021, House Over­sight and Reform Commit­tee and the Depart­ment of Justice filed a joint status report in which both parties reached an agree­ment inten­ded to facil­it­ate the end of the case.

On Janu­ary 7, 2022, the Depart­ment of Justice completed produc­tion of docu­ments reques­ted by the House Over­sight and Reform Commit­tee, and both parties filed a stip­u­la­tion of dismissal with preju­dice. The case was dismissed with preju­dice by the District of Columbi­a’s District Court on Janu­ary 12, 2022.

 

Docu­ments