Supreme Court ruling cuts 2020 Census count short
by Benjamin Fang
Oct 19, 2020 | 3332 views | 0 0 comments | 257 257 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 2020 Census count came to an end on October 15, two days after the Supreme Court ruled last Tuesday that the Trump administration can halt field operations ahead of schedule.

The court’s unsigned order allowed the Census Bureau to stop the count two weeks before the original end date of October 31.

The Trump administration previously sought to end data collection on September 30, but a California judge ordered the federal government to continue through the end of October.

The pandemic caused the bureau to move the deadline for operations from August to October before the flurry of moves from the Trump administration cut the count short.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last Wednesday that the ruling wasn’t “a fair decision.”

“I think with so much that’s happened with this pandemic, and with so much need to get the truth out about the people of this city and this country and count everyone, it made no sense to cut the count short,” he said. “It made no sense that the president took a full month off the census process.”

In a statement, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, called the Supreme Court’s decision “truly disappointing.”

“Under the Constitution, the federal government must conduct a complete and accurate Census,” she said, “and this duty should not be trumped by adherence to a statutory deadline that never envisioned a once-in-a-generation pandemic and that experts have warned is impossible to meet without compromising the integrity of the census.”

Attorney General Letitia James, whose office has fought against the Trump administration in court over the census and its deadlines, said in a statement that the economic progress and electoral power of New York are at stake.

“The census is a fundamental tool of our democracy,” James said, “and without an accurate count, New York runs a very real risk of losing representation, federal funds and other forms of government aid.”

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the dissent to the Supreme Court’s order, noting that an inaccurate count would yield “avoidable and intolerable harms.”

Councilman Carlos Menchaca said in a statement that it will be immigrant and Latino communities that will suffer from an undercount. However, despite the pandemic, he noted that New York City’s self-response rate numbers are “positive.”

As of October 15, the city’s self-response rate was 61.8 percent, which matched the rate 10 years ago.

“Almost the entire city did better in response rate than in 2010,” Menchaca said. “And the current response rate does not include the reporting date for the census staff who are door knocking.”
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