Ending The Census Count Early Hurts Minority Communities The Most

Census Event In Reading Pennsylvania

Source: MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images / Getty

On Tuesday the Supreme Court issued a landmark judgement, allowing the Trump administration to shut down the census count ahead of schedule, before the October 31 deadline according to The Associated Press.

Lower courts previously ordered the administration to keep counting through the end of the month following a previous schedule first proposed in April by Trump officials in response to the coronavirus. But in July, Trump officials abandoned that plan and introduced a mandate to exclude undocumented immigrants from calculations. Though it was found unlawful by three district New York judges, the Trump administration is also appealing that case in the Supreme Court.

Several civil rights groups and local governments sued the Trump administration citing that minority and rural communities would suffer if the deadline was moved up.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California sided with the plaintiffs and issued an injunction which suspended a Sept. 30 deadline for finishing the 2020 census and a Dec. 31 deadline. Her ruling meant that the deadlines would revert back to a previous Census Bureau plan that mandated operations end Oct. 31 and the reporting of apportionment figures at the end of April 2021.

Last week, judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit denied the administration’s request to halt the district judge’s order that extended the census deadline through Oct. 31. The Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday has now reversed the course.

The ruling allows for Trump’s administration to handle the count, no matter who wins on Election Day.

Critics of the decision voiced concern as the Census provides a path for the allocation of federal grants and funds towards improving the local infrastructure which includes schools, roads, and hospitals. With the data decisions are made relating to where businesses and homes are built.

The census also provides the math used to determine the number of seats each state will have in the House of Representatives. This specific process is called apportionment and is found in Article, 1, Section 2 of the Constitution.

So an undercount will undoubtedly affect minority and undocumented immigrant communities the most.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only Justice to form a dissenting opinion, writing, “The harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable.”


“This is a huge loss for democracy,” MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted. “They want to stop counting to limit the number of nonwhite people counted, to deprive the emerging majority of political representation and power. This is a step toward minority rule. If that Census form is sitting on your counter, SEND IT IN!”

The Census ruling only adds to the continued injustices waged on the people who reside in America by the Trump administration. As Election Day moves closer and repeated state sanctioned violence  and voter suppression is enacted on our communities, it becomes clearer that the idea of “justice,” is not held for all.