SCOTUS sides with White House, agrees to early halt in census count

President Donald Trump scored a legal victory this week after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with his administration on a census-related issue.

With only Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting, the high court decided on Tuesday that the 2020 census count can come to a halt, overturning a lower decision that ordered it remains ongoing until the end of the month, as reported by the Washington Examiner.

“Well over 99.9%”

The move came following the Trump administration’s assertion that the census should be wrapped up early to furnish the president with a report by Dec. 31. An appeals process is expected to follow.

“Today, the Court stays a preliminary injunction requiring the Census Bureau to follow the data collection plan the agency once described as necessary to avoid ‘risking significant impacts on data quality,'” the decision stated.

As the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed on Tuesday, the vast majority of its work is complete.

“As of today, well over 99.9% of housing units have been accounted for in the 2020 Census. Self-response and field data collection operations for the 2020 Census will conclude on October 15, 2020,” the statement revealed.

For her part, Sotomayor argued 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.”

“For at least the next 10 years”

The sole dissenter went on to write that the Supreme Court “normally does not grant extraordinary relief on such a painfully disproportionate balance of harms,” concluding that “respondents will suffer substantial injury if the Bureau is permitted to sacrifice accuracy for expediency.”

Arguing that “the percentage of nonresponses is likely much higher among marginalized populations and in hard-to-count areas, such as rural and tribal lands,” Sotomayor wrote that “those populations will disproportionately bear the burden of any inaccuracies.”

Calling any errors in the count “irreparable,” she wrote that “respondents will suffer their lasting impact for at least the next 10 years.”

For the White House, however, the ruling is a clear win. If Trump receives census data by the end of the year, his administration will be able to control related apportionment regardless of the outcome of the election.

As for those opponents seeking to extend the census count, their path just became significantly narrower.

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