Speed Reads

2020 Census

Trump files 'emergency' appeal to the Supreme Court to halt the Census count

The Trump administration filed an emergency application on Wednesday night with the Supreme Court, asking it to halt an earlier appeals court decision that extended the count of the 2020 Census to the end of the month.

In late September, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that due to hurdles faced during the coronavirus pandemic, the Census Bureau could continue counting through the end of October; plaintiffs argued that the extension would reduce the risk of undercounting harder-to-access populations such as immigrants, minorities, and lower-income groups, The Washington Post reports. The Trump administration nevertheless set a "target date" of Oct. 5 to end the count, which Koh called a "violation" of her order.

"Defendants' dissemination of erroneous information; lurching from one hasty, unexplained plan to the next; and unlawful sacrifices of completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census are upending the status quo, violating the Injunction Order, and undermining the credibility of the Census Bureau and the 2020 Census. This must stop," Koh said.

Koh's order to extend the census count would bump back an analysis of the data from the end of the year to April 30, 2021; the Trump administration has argued against this, saying Census workers won't have enough time to analyze the data if counting extends to the end of the month. That's a concern for the administration because, as NPR notes, Trump wants to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the total and "if the bureau delivers the state counts by Dec. 31, Trump would be able to attempt to make that unprecedented change to who counts when reapportioning House seats among the states, even if he does not win re-election."