After the Trump administration moved to change the Census reporting deadline a month, a federal judge in California placed a temporary restraining order on Sept. 5, 2020. The legal maneuver halts the president’s ability to accelerate the deadline.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California responded to a National Urban League coalition, who filed an emergency request. The restraining order will remain in effect until a hearing on September 17. On that date, plaintiffs will present the court with their request for the counting to continue until the Census Bureau’s deadline — October 31.
The coalition includes the Navajo Nation and the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, as well as civil rights groups and local governments. They are trying to force the Census Bureau to “abandon a last-minute schedule change.” Abbreviating the time frame will leave people without internet access to uncounted.
Thomas Wolf, a senior counsel at the Brennon Center of Justice, commented:
Today’s ruling buys the census some precious and indispensable time by barring the administration from shutting down the count while the federal courts are still considering our request for relief.
NPR reports they sent an email to the Justice Department representing the Census bureau seeking a comment. Mollie Timmons, a spokesperson, responded, indicating the department has no comment regarding the case.
On September 6, Michael Cook, the Census Bureau’s chief spokesperson, explained the agency is responding to the restraining order. They will soon be sending instructions to regional and local offices on how to comply.
The court filing will temporarily cause the agency to cease dismissing door knockers from areas in the later stages of in-person counting. Moreover, they have removed Sept. 11 as their cut-off date, allowing the Census Bureau to “collect more quality data.”
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
NPR: Census Work Has Been Winding Down, But A Judge Says It Needs To Press On For Now; Hansi Lo Wang
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