The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively allowed the government to stop the census count immediately, blocking a lower court order that would have required the Trump administration to continue gathering census information in the field until the end of October.
The Census Bureau said it wanted to stop the count so that it could start processing the data in order to meet a Dec. 31 deadline, set in federal law, for reporting the results to the president. But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the government to keep going with its field work until October 31, concluding that a longer time in the field would increase accuracy.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, writing, “The harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable.” The states and groups seeking to keep the count going “will suffer their lasting impact for the next ten years,” until the next census is conducted.