In a win for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court has granted a request this week from the administration to stop the 2020 census count while an appeal takes place over a lower court’s order that it continue until October 31.
The administration argued the October 31 deadline would have prevented Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from delivering a count of the nation’s population to Trump by December 31.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only justice to dissent from the order, fearing that the shortened timeline would produce inaccurate results.
“Because the harms associated with an inaccurate census are avoidable and intolerable, I respectfully dissent from the grant of stay,” she wrote.
Census officials have warned in internal emails that an undercount in as many as ten states would be a tally of “unacceptable quality” with “fatal flaws” and carry the stain of “politically manipulated results.”
Attorneys for the groups that sued the administration said they will wait to see the Census Bureau’s next steps to determine their response. In a statement released after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Census Bureau said that “well over 99.9% of housing units” have been accounted for and that self-response and field collection operations would conclude Thursday.
In an interview with CNN, San Jose, California, Mayor Sam Liccardo, whose city is among those suing the administration, said they will continue to move the lawsuit forward in the lower courts and will send census workers back out to count residents, if they are successful.
But doing so would be difficult, Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told CNN. “This stay is effectively the end of it,” Tobias said.