The Supreme Court Just Allowed the Trump Administration to Suspend the Census

Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post/Zuma

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to abruptly halt the US census, setting aside a lower court order that had extended Census Bureau operations through Oct. 31.

As I wrote in September:

To make up for delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Census Bureau had initially extended the enumeration period—in which the agency attempts to count every US household that has not already responded to the census on its own—until Oct. 31. But in July, following the Trump administration’s addition of several political appointees to the Census Bureau, the agency announced that it would cut the enumeration period short to Sept. 30, leaving census organizers scrambling to get everyone in their communities counted and adding further confusion to a census that has been riddled with controversy and uncertainty.

In September, a federal court ordered the Census Bureau to continue its enumeration until the original deadline of Oct. 31. The Supreme Court today placed a stay on that ruling, in part because the government has argued that the current enumeration deadline will prevent it from meeting the Dec. 31 statutory deadline for reporting the results of the census to the president.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, writing, “Meeting the deadline at the expense of the accuracy of the census is not a cost worth paying, especially when the Government has failed to show why it could not bear the lesser cost of expending more resources to meet the deadline or continuing its prior efforts to seek an extension from Congress.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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