Hansi Lo Wang for NPR:
A federal court has ordered the Trump administration to abandon last-minute changes to the 2020 census schedule and extend the time for counting for an additional month.
The preliminary injunction issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California requires the Census Bureau to keep trying to tally the country’s residents through Oct. 31.
The ruling is the latest development in a federal lawsuit over the administration’s decision to shorten the timeline for the national head count. The Justice Department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is expected to appeal the order, further complicating what could be the final days of counting for this year’s census.
Koh found that the administration’s truncated census schedule is likely to produce inaccurate numbers about historically undercounted groups, including people of color and immigrants. That, in turn, would harm the constitutional purpose of the count — to redistribute the seats in the House of Representatives among the states based on their latest populations.The judge also found that the challengers in the lawsuit — a coalition of groups led by the National Urban League — are ultimately likely to succeed in the lawsuit by arguing that the administration’s decision was arbitrary and capricious.