July 9 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Justice Department from changing its legal team in a case related to a question about citizenship the Trump administration wants to include on the 2020 census.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman wrote that the Justice Department's request to change the legal team was "patently deficient."
"Defendants provide no reasons, let alone 'satisfactory reasons,' for the substitution counsel," he wrote.
Furman's ruling cited the fact that a filing in the case was due in three days and the Justice Department had insisted that a "speedy resolution in the case was "a matter of great private and public importance."
Furman denied the request for all but two of the lawyers -- Brett Shumate and Alice La Cour -- who have departed from the Department of Justice and the Civil Division.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec announced the plans to shift the handling of the census-related matters to a new team of civil division lawyers on Sunday.
Furman said the Justice Department would be permitted to refile its request if it provided "satisfactory reasons" for the withdrawal of the attorneys and promise that those who previously worked on the case be available upon request.
He also required the agency to file an affidavit providing "unequivocal assurances" that the change will not further delay litigation of any cases.