Supreme Court sides with Trump administration bid to end 2020 census count

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A demonstrator holds a sign that reads “Everyone Counts” outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, June 27, 2019.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the Trump administration to end field operations for the 2020 census, temporarily halting a lower court decision that had extended the count.

The decision came in an unsigned order, as is typical for emergency cases. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

The case arose after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross backtracked on an plan announced in April to extend the count until Oct. 31 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In August, Ross said that count would conclude at the end of September in order to meet a Dec. 31 statutory deadline for reporting the census results to the president.

A consortium of advocacy groups, cities, counties, and Native American tribes sued to keep the extended deadline.

In court papers, the groups argued that their communities would “almost certainly be inaccurately represented and underrepresented in the final census count if the administration succeeds in truncating census data-collection and data-processing.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ordered the administration not to end the count before Oct. 31 while the case continued to work its way through the lower courts.

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