The administration asked the high court for “immediate relief” because the trial court order will prevent Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from delivering an important count of the nation’s population “to the President by December 31, 2020, a statutory deadline that the district court also enjoined.”
“In addition to disregarding the statutory deadline, the district court disregarded the Bureau’s successful efforts to ensure that the 2020 census will reach levels of accuracy and completeness comparable to other recent censuses while still meeting the deadline,” the administration wrote in its Supreme Court appeal.
The appeal comes hours after an appellate court gave the administration more leeway in how it conducts the census but also found that the National Urban League and other groups suing the administration had a good chance of winning.
Their lawsuit accuses the administration of improperly deciding in August to shorten the census count by more than a month after rolling out a controversial policy — which is currently being blocked, and also is on appeal to the Supreme Court — to exclude undocumented immigrants when dividing seats in the US House of Representatives among between the states.
Census officials said publicly this summer that meeting the December 31 deadline would be impossible while also producing an accurate count. President Donald Trump called for Congress to provide the Census Bureau extra time — even more than the additional four months the administration officially proposed.
Attorneys representing the National Urban League-led coalition suing the administration on Wednesday applauded the appellate court ruling that upheld much of Koh’s order and have not yet responded to the request that the Supreme Court take up the case.
This story has been updated with additional background information.