* Washington Post…
The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to end the 2020 Census count now, concluding a contentious legal battle over the once-in-a-decade household count despite fears of an undercount that would fall hardest on minority groups.
The court put on hold a lower-court order that said the count should continue until the end of the month, because of delays brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The court did not provide a reason, which is common in disposing of the kind of emergency application filed by the administration.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only justice to note dissent.
“The harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable,” she wrote. “And respondents will suffer their lasting impact for at least the next 10 years.”
The order is here.
* SCOTUS Blog…
The administration said last week in an emergency request to the justices that it needs to wind down the census count right away in order to have enough time to process the census data and meet a key statutory deadline at the end of the year. A group of local governments and nonprofit groups, led by the National Urban League, said that ending the count early will result in an undercount of immigrants, low-income people and other groups that are difficult to count.
In a one-paragraph, unsigned order, the court granted the emergency request from the Department of Commerce, which conducts the census. The order is framed as a temporary pause of a district judge’s ruling that directed the department to proceed with the count through Oct. 31. But due to the compressed timeline for completing the census, the order is likely to be the definitive say on the matter. […]
In response to the National Urban League’s lawsuit, a district judge in California ordered the department to stick to its earlier plan and keep counting until Oct. 31. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld that directive.
In its emergency appeal to the Supreme Court last week, the department said that, if forced to keep field operations in place, it would be unable to meet a Dec. 31 statutory deadline by which it must send state-by-state population totals to the president. Those population totals are then used to reapportion congressional seats among the states.
* New York Times…
The administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene, saying that only by shutting down field work now could the bureau meet the Dec. 31 deadline, which is set by statute. “The district court’s order constitutes an unprecedented intrusion into the executive’s ability to conduct the census according to Congress’s direction,” Jeffrey B. Wall, the acting solicitor general, told the justices in a brief filed on Wednesday.
“As the law stands,” Mr. Wall wrote, “assessing any trade-off between speed and accuracy is a job for Congress, which set the Dec. 31 deadline and has not extended it, and the agencies, which acted reasonably in complying with that deadline.”
On Saturday, Mr. Wall wrote that as of Oct. 9 the bureau had counted over 99 percent of households in 49 states. But that was widely questioned by census and demographic experts, who cast the number as a public relations estimate that concealed broad gaps in the accuracy of the tally.
* ABC 7…
“Each of us is at risk of losing representation in Congress, so we’re pretty certain Illinois is going to lose at least one representative in the House of Representatives,” said Maria Fitzsimmons, 2020 census director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee rights. “That just dilutes the amount of voices in Congress speaking for our needs.”
The representation and funding of neighborhoods across the country may well have been capped with the abrupt end of the census count.
“It will increase poverty among people as a result of this decisions. And it could potentially affect the redistricting process if a full census is undertaken. So it has all kinds of consequences,” said Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL 4). “This could have a devastating impact on marginalized, lower income communities across the country.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling Is not exactly the final word. An appeals process could play out in a lower court, but the case won’t be argued before the original October 31 deadline, so the last day to submit your census response is this coming Thursday, October 15.
* Gov. Pritzker…
The Supreme Court’s decision to allow President Donald J. Trump to cut the Census short is wrong. It means an undercount in communities that can least afford it, perpetuating generations of disinvestment that make our nation weaker.
Earlier [yesterday], my administration announced an additional $1 million in funding for Census outreach, on top of our historic & nation-leading $29 million investment.
Despite [yesterday’s] decision, know that every person counts in Illinois, and we will always provide quality services to all in need.