A federal judge has ordered that the 2020 Census count continue until Oct. 31, blocking for now the government’s efforts to complete the survey in time to deliver apportionment data to the president by the end of the year.
The ruling late Thursday night by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California follows a tense week in which the government appeared to try to circumvent a preliminary injunction against ending the count early.
After a surprise announcement Monday that the bureau was moving the end date by just five days, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 5, plaintiffs in the case asked Koh to provide clarification of her earlier order and other sanctions.
Rejecting the government’s argument that the request was “an attempt to radically modify the preliminary injunction,” Koh’s new ruling clarified that the end date for collection must revert to Oct. 31, as the bureau had originally planned.
It also ordered that on Friday, the government must send text messages to all Census Bureau employees notifying them of the Oct. 31 end date, and that Director Steven Dillingham must file a declaration by Monday that “unequivocally confirms Defendants’ ongoing compliance with the Injunction Order and details the steps Defendants have taken to prevent future violations of the Injunction Order.”