JUDGES RULED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST CONTINUE THE COUNTING PROCESS THROUGH OCTOBER 31
Washington Bureau Insider — October 8, 2020
BREAKING NEWS: A federal appeals court on Wednesday declined the Trump administration’s appeal of an order extending the 2020 census timeline.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the federal government must continue the counting process through Oct. 31, according to the ruling.
The panel also paused another part of the earlier order, which restrained the Trump administration from its efforts to meet the Dec. 31 legal deadline for the first set of census results.
Al Fontenot, the Census Bureau’s associate director for the 2020 count, said in a sworn statement earlier this month that they would not likely be able to develop a “complete and accurate census” by the end of the year if bureau personnel are in the field past Oct. 5. “Perhaps the Bureau will find that with an extraordinary effort or changes in processing capacity, it is able to meet its deadline,” the three judges wrote. “Or the Department of Commerce may seek and receive a deadline extension from Congress. Or perhaps the Bureau will miss the deadline, as statement after statement by everyone from agency officials to the President has stated it would, due to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic.
The panel wrote that failure to meet the Dec. 31 reporting deadline was unlikely to invalidate the numbers delivered to President Trump. It also left open the option of Congress passing an extension if the numbers are delivered after the deadline. Congress took similar steps in the census counts conducted for three decades in the 19th century.
The administration has continued its push to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count, despite the Supreme Court ruling that it could not include a question on the census about the recipient’s legal status in the U.S. The Trump administration would be able to implement the change if the numbers are delivered to Trump by Dec. 31 even if he loses the November presidential election.
Read more the Census Must Not be Rushed ruling.