A federal judge says he's inclined to reexamine whether a proposed 2020 census citizenship question violates the rights of minorities after reviewing newly discovered documents from a deceased political operative.

U.S. District Judge George Hazel of Maryland ruled Wednesday that plaintiffs have produced enough evidence to warrant reopening the case, even though he already has ruled in their favor on other grounds.

His ability to consider altering his ruling based on the new evidence would depend on a federal appeals court returning it to him.

Voting rights activists argue newly discovered emails between the late GOP mapmaker Thomas Hofeller and a current Census Bureau official show the citizenship question was intended to discriminate.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on whether the citizenship question should be included.