The Democratically controlled U.S. House Judiciary Committee launched an inquiry on Friday into the Trump administration’s decision to reverse course on several key voting rights lawsuits and its efforts to add a citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 U.S. census. In a letter to acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker seen by Reuters, the chairman of the committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler, demanded that the Justice Department turn over any internal records on a number of voting rights issues and said he was concerned by a lack of enforcement of voter rights laws in general. The letter seeks records related to the Justice Department’s decision to drop its opposition to a contentious Ohio policy allowing the state to purge infrequent voters from registration rolls and a Texas voter identification law.
In doing so, the department reversed course from the legal positions taken during the Obama administration, which contended that the Ohio policy and Texas law disenfranchised minority and other low-income voters.
The letter also seeks records on the decision-making process that led to a plan to add a question about citizenship to the U.S. census.
A federal judge in New York last month invalidated the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, concluding that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross concealed his true motives in adding the question last March.