SCOTUS Rules With Trump Administration’s Bid to End 2020 Census Count Early

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled to finish Census counting early, siding with the Trump administration’s bid to have it cut off by October 15th at 11:59 Hawaii time. The decision was reached with nearly unanimous support, with the sole dissenter being Justice Sonia Sotomayor. 

The case was brought before the Supreme Court by several civil rights groups, who argue that a lack of extension to the counting for the Census will result in inaccurate and misleading numbers in population, which influence the federal funding sent to states and communities for social services and other necessities.

Supporters of the decision, including the Trump administration, have argued that it’s necessary to stop Census counting early this year in order to process and present the accumulated data to the Oval Office by the official deadline of December 31st. Additionally, they bring up the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and the subsequent slower processing abilities of the federal government as a reason to end it by October 15th.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the sole Justice to deny the ruling, doubled down on her decision, citing the irreparable damage an inaccurate Census would cause. She wrote in her dissenting opinion that “meeting the deadline at the expense of the accuracy of the census is not a cost worth paying, especially when the Government has failed to show why it could not bear the lesser cost of expending more resources to meet the deadline or continuing its prior efforts to seek an extension from Congress.” 

The Trump administration’s efforts to end Census counting come alongside efforts by the President to exclude illegal immigrants from being counted for states’ population, despite constitutional provisions requiring the Census include all persons in each state.