Longer census count upheld; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denies Trump administration

Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by the Trump administration to temporarily block a lower court ruling extending the 2020 census count through Oct. 31.

To the dismay of officials in charge of census-taking in the Rio Grande Valley and across the nation, the Commerce Department on Sept. 28 announced that the “target date” for ending door-to-door census taking and self-reported census counting is Oct. 5.

That announcement came four days after — and in defiance of — a California federal district judge’s order that the U.S. census count continue through Oct. 31. The Justice Department by then had already announced it planned to appeal U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s decision granting a preliminary injunction against ending the count on Sept. 30.

It was Koh’s order that the Ninth Court upheld.

The original deadline to wrap up in-person enumeration was July 31, though the U.S. Census Bureau bureau pushed it back to Oct. 31 in order to help ensure an accurate count of every U.S. resident. The bureau reversed course in early August, moving the deadline to the end of September and leaving census officials across the nation at their wits’ end.

Bloomberg News reported that Koh on Sept. 29 initiated contempt proceedings against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying her order to allow the census count to continue through the end of October, with a hearing set for Oct. 2.