ORLANDO, Fla .– A federal judge has prevented the 2020 census from ending at the end of September and has ordered the once-per-decade count of every U.S. resident to continue for a month until the end of October, claiming that a shortened timeline was likely would produce inaccurate results.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California released her ruling Thursday night, two days after hearing arguments from Census Bureau attorneys and lawyers for civil rights groups and local governments who sued the Census Bureau in an effort to prevent the 2020 census from stopping. at the end of the month.
Lawyers for civil rights groups and local governments said the shortened schedule would under-count residents of minority and hard-to-count communities.
Koh said inaccuracies produced from a shortened timeline would affect the distribution of federal funding and political representation. The census is used to determine how $ 1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed each year and how many seats in Congress each state gets.
Government lawyers have argued that the census must be completed by the end of September to meet the December 31 deadline for rotating numbers used to decide how many congressional seats each state gets.
Koh’s preliminary injunction also suspends this end-of-year period. The San Jose, Calif.-Based judge had previously issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from shutting down operations on the ground until she rules on the lawsuit.
Lawyers for the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce, which oversees the agency, said at the hearing that they would likely appeal.