By JayJuan Jones
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Trump administration has been ordered to continue the 2020 Census count through October. The administration previously planned to end the count earlier than scheduled due to cited concerns about COVID-19 delays. However, on Thursday a federal judge in California ruled that the administration’s revised plan would not solve any delays and instead would result in an inaccurate census count.
The U.S. Census Bureau, which is directed by President Trump’s appointee, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, announced in an August 3 press release that it would be ending the census count by September 30—a month earlier than originally scheduled.
“We will end field data collection by September 30, 2020. Self-response options will also close on that date to permit the commencement of data processing,” said the press release. “Under this plan, the Census Bureau intends to meet a similar level of household responses as collected in prior censuses, including outreach to hard-to-count communities.”
The revised plan would have closed census operations by September 30 and population numbers for apportionment of funds and resources would be sent to the President by December 31. Under the Court’s Order, the census count will now continue through October 31 and its data processing will continue under a timeline that will allow full counting and reporting of the total population to the President.
District Judge Lucy H. Koh issued her ruling after hearing the arguments in National Urban League et al. v. Wilbur L. Ross Jr. This lawsuit was filed by civil rights groups, civil organizations, and tribal and local governments on August 18 in order to block the administration’s attempt to end census counting earlier.
According to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the plaintiffs sought to stop the administration’s revised plan of the Census Bureau to shorten the 2020 count in the middle of a pandemic. The court had already issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the administration from shutting down its census operations until this ruling last Thursday.
Lawyers’ Committee President/CEO Kristen Clarke issued a statement applauding the judges decision: “The court’s decision ensures that our underrepresented and most vulnerable communities will not be disadvantaged by an unfair and incomplete census count. With this directive, the Trump administration was attempting to fan the flames of racial division, further divide our country and exclude communities of color from the final enumeration. The court’s decision repudiates the 11th hour actions of the Trump administration and makes clear that our democracy turns on achieving a full and fair count of all people across our nation.”
Many in opposition to the administration’s timeline revisions argued that such seemingly last minute changes were an attempt to fan the flames of racial division and further divide the country. Though that may be a potential result in some individual’s view this ruling advocates for democracy and allows for, as any extensions to census counting could, full and fair count of all people across our nation.