Supreme Court Halts Census

Top court grants administration's emergency request
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2020 5:31 PM CDT
Supreme Court Halts Census
US Census Director Steven Dillingham departs a census news conference to urge Arizonans to participate in the nation's once-a-decade population count Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)

The Supreme Court has granted the White House's emergency request for the Census Bureau to stop counting Americans. The Trump administration filed the request with the top court after a federal appeals court refused to suspend an order from a lower court preventing the 2020 census from finishing a month earlier than planned, NPR reports. Administration officials argued that if the count continued until Oct. 31, the end-of-year deadline for reporting the results to the White House could be in jeopardy. When the administration announced in July that the schedule would be shortened, census workers warned there could be a "massive undercount."

The Hill reports that in her dissent Tuesday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that "the harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable." The respondents "will suffer substantial injury if the Bureau is permitted to sacrifice accuracy for expediency," she wrote. The plaintiffs, a coalition of local government and human rights groups who argued that ending the census early would cause minorities to be undercounted, said the decision wasn't a total loss, the AP reports. Coalition attorneys said millions more people had been counted in the extra weeks granted by previous court decisions. (More 2020 census stories.)

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