A federal judge barred the Trump administration on Friday from ending the 2020 census a month early, the latest twist in years of political and legal warfare over perhaps the most contested population count in a century.
In U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Lucy H. Koh issued a preliminary injunction preventing the administration from winding down the count by Sept. 30, a month before the scheduled completion date of Oct. 31. She also barred officials from delivering completed population data to the White House on Dec. 31 rather than the April 2021 delivery date that had previously been set out.
The judge had temporarily stayed the early completion of the census count on Sept. 5 pending a hearing held on Tuesday.
The ruling came after evidence filed this week showed that top Census Bureau officials believed ending the head count early would seriously endanger its accuracy.
In one July email, the head of census field operations, Timothy P. Olson Jr., called it “ludicrous” to think a curtailed population count would succeed. A second internal document drafted in late July said a shortened census would have “fatal data flaws that are unacceptable for a constitutionally mandated national activity.”
The administration ordered the speedup anyway. Critics immediately said it would lead to drastic undercounts, particularly for low-income areas and communities of color, which are least likely to respond to the census.
The Trump administration had argued that it needed to end census-taking early to begin processing state-by-state population data or it would miss a statutory Dec. 31 deadline for sending population figures to President Trump.
That was widely seen as an effort to ensure that Mr. Trump — and not Joseph R. Biden Jr., should he win the presidential election — controls census figures that will be used next year to reallocate seats in the House of Representatives and draw thousands of political boundaries nationwide.
The post A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from ending the census early. appeared first on New York Times.