THE NEUTRAL ZONE
In a virtual hearing on Monday, Judge Koh asked for documents on how the latest decision was made. One lawyer for the federal government suggested that the decision was made with no records kept. Judge Koh rebuffed the argument, “A one sentence tweet? Are you saying that is enough reason to establish decision-making? A one sentence tweet?”
Cities and civil rights groups sued the Census Bureau after the White House initially announced a Sept. 30 deadline in August. They argued that minorities and citizens in less accessible communities would be missed if counting ended in September. Judge Koh said in her ruling Thursday that rushing the results of the census would most likely produce inaccurate results, which would impact communities for the next decade.
Census workers around the country contacted news outlets saying they were directed to finish operations by Sept. 30, even after the ruling. The Census Bureau is investigating the reports, according to a Census spokesperson. The announcement spurred backlash from census workers and democrats. Tim Olsen, associate director of field operations, expressed concern for the accurate completion of the census. “It is ludicrous to think we can complete 100% of the nation’s data collection earlier than 10/31 and any thinking person who would believe we can deliver apportionment by 12/31 has either a mental deficiency or a political motivation,” he said. In a statement, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, said, “The Trump Administration’s unlawful undercount will negatively affect the hundreds of millions of dollars that both red and blue states are due in federal funding.”
Trump White House can’t end census early, judge rules – Fox News – 9/25/2020
President Trump won’t be allowed to end this year’s census a month early after new evidence presented by Census Bureau officials indicates that an early deadline could lead to severe undercounts, a federal judge ruled Friday. […] Sparring over the census has been ongoing this year, as the Trump administration argued that if they don’t receive census data by a proposed early deadline of Sept. 30, they would be unable to meet the statutory deadline of Dec. 31.
State groups bemoan stop-and-go decisions affecting the census deadline – Chicago Sun-Times – 9/28/2020
Erin Sindewald, development manager with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, said it came as a shock to her knowing the deadline to finish the census was just days away on Sept. 30. Then, as census takers were canvassing the country attempting to document the homeless population, a U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of California ordered a preliminary injunction requiring the bureau to keep counting people through Oct. 30, as originally planned. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who controls the Census Bureau, appealed the injunction Friday to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But by Monday evening, Ross announced he would rebuff the courts and conclude the census Oct. 5.
Census Judge ‘Disturbed’ by Rush to Finish, Demands Explanation – Bloomberg – 9/28/202
“Breaking news,” a lawyer for the Commerce Department told U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh as a hearing was under way on a lawsuit by civil rights groups claiming that the Trump administration’s move to compress the timeline for the once-a-decade census will result in an undercount of minorities. The government lawyer pointed the judge to a tweet from the Census Bureau about Ross’s intentions. Koh said she was “disturbed” that “despite the court’s order,” census supervisors have told field workers to wrap up data collection. The judge added that she’s been “inundated” with emails from field workers making similar allegations. “Clearly, I need to bring this to a head sooner than I thought,” she said.
Trump administration pushes to end census next week – Roll Call – 9/29/2020
Plaintiffs in a lawsuit and census experts argued a shortened census count would risk missing or double counting people, skewing the results. Because of delays earlier in the year related to the coronavirus pandemic, the administration originally postponed certain counting deadlines and sought a four-month legislative extension of when it needed to delivery census totals to the White House. […] The agency provided no further information or rationale for the new end date, and a spokesman referred questions back to the statement. As of late Monday afternoon, the agency also had not filed any documents in a California case overseen by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California.
US defies court order on closure of census operations – Financial Times – 9/28/2020
The bureau said on Monday night that Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, had set a target date of October 5 for the conclusion of field operations for the exercise. The announcement was made despite an injunction issued by a federal judge last week that required counting to continue until the end of October. President Donald Trump has been pushing the bureau to finish as quickly as possible in what critics fear is an attempt to skew the results.