The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the Trump administration’s request to allow a stop to counting for the 2020 U.S. Census earlier than Oct. 31.The justices granted the Justice Department's request for an emergency stay by blocking a lower court ruling that had required field data collection operations for the census count to be continued until Oct. 31. The decision required at least five justices to be in favor.
The census, which takes place once every decade, is used to determine how to distribute $1.5 trillion in federal spending annually. It is also used to decide how many congressional seats each state gets, and how the House of Representatives and state legislatures draw voting districts during the next round of redistricting—a process known as apportionment.
The proposal to extend the apportionment deadline passed the House, but the Senate ultimately didn’t take up the request.
Around the same time, President Donald Trump issued an executive order in July to exclude illegal immigrants from census numbers used in the apportionment count. A panel of three district judges in New York ruled the order unlawful. The Trump administration is now appealing the case to the Supreme Court.In early August, the Census Bureau announced a new plan that would seek to meet the original apportionment statutory deadline of Dec. 31 for submitting the collected data to Congress. It said that it would end field data collection by Sept. 30.
The Justice Department, arguing for the Census Bureau, had said that complaints about the time line should be raised with Congress, which can extend the statutory deadline.
“Contrary to what Plaintiffs may think, the Bureau is not free to disregard a statutory deadline in pursuit of some ethereal notion of a better census," Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing.The Census Bureau on Tuesday announced that as of Oct. 12, 99.9 percent of housing units have been accounted for in the 2020 census.