The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the US Census Bureau can complete its 2020 census on October 31. This gives him enough time to process the data before the end of the year. The decision, which the Trump administration endorsed, came with an open opposition from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
“Meeting the deadline at the expense of the accuracy of the census is not a cost worth paying,” Sotomayor wrote in her Dissent. “Particularly when the government has failed to explain why it could not afford the lesser cost of spending more resources on meeting the deadline or continuing its previous efforts to extend Congress. This court does not normally provide extraordinary relief for such painfully disproportionate. ”
The US Census Bureau, overseen by Trump-appointed Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, announced in a press release Aug. 3 that it would end its census by September 30, a month ahead of its original schedule. The Trump administration argued it would then have to stop to process the data before the December 31, 2020 deadline set by Congress.
Personal data collection, a feature of the census, was canceled in March due to the. The temporary suspension prompted the Census Bureau to request an extension of the census first. “To ensure the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 census, the Census Bureau is seeking legal relief from Congress by 120 additional calendar days to provide the final apportionment censuses,” said an April press release from the office.
The government later changed course, announcing on August 3 that it would instead speed up the count to meet the legal deadline of December 31, 2020. This so-called “rescheduling” came just weeks after President Trump announced plans to exclude undocumented documents. Immigrants from the census – and representation in Congress – prompted several interest groups to sue to block the accelerated census.
The exclusion of undocumented immigrants could potentially have seismic political implications. According to an estimate by the Pew Research Center, California, Texas, and Florida would get fewer seats in the House than expected if unauthorized immigrants were not counted. while Alabama, Minnesota, and Ohio retained seats, they would otherwise have lost.
This plan was challenged before it reached the Supreme Court. A federal judge in California ruled in September that the government’s plan would not fix COVID-19 delays and instead result in an inaccurate count that could cause “irreparable harm”. The Trump administration was asked to do soTo temporarily abandon plans to end the count early.
However, this decision was only an injunction against the Trump administration’s “stated reason for the August 3, 2020 plan”. In response, the administration filed an urgency motion asking the Supreme Court to allow the Bureau to complete the field operations, arguing that the process must be ended in order to provide results to the President by the end of the year.
The court granted that motion on Tuesday: “Pending a decision on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the ninth circuit and pending decision on the deed motion if requested in due time.”
The judges did not explain their typical emergency sequence. No other judiciary has signed Sotomayor’s dissent.