Sep 17, 2020
Trump appeals order blocking exclusion in district drawing
This news has been received from: Associated Press
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A week after a three-judge panel blocked an order from President Donald Trump seeking to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from the numbers used to redraw congressional districts, the Trump administration on Wednesday gave notice it intends to appeal.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether an appellate court or the U.S. Supreme Court will get the case next since the Trump administration filed notices for both courts. Either way, the case is likely to end up at the Supreme Court.
A panel of three federal judges in New York last week said Trump’s order was unlawful. The judges prohibited Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, from excluding people in the country illegally when handing in 2020 census figures used to calculate how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment.
The judges said that those in the country illegally qualify as people to be counted in the states they reside.
Opponents of the order said it was an effort to suppress the growing political power of Latinos in the U.S. and to discriminate against immigrant communities of color. They also said undocumented residents use the nation’s roads, parks and other public amenities and should be taken into account for any distribution of federal resources.
The numbers used for apportionment are derived from the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident that is set to end in two weeks. The census also helps determine the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding annually.
After Trump issued the order in July, around a half dozen lawsuits across the U.S. were filed by states, cities, immigrant advocates and civil rights groups challenging its legality and constitutionality.
The New York case was the first to get a ruling.
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News Source: Associated Press
Injunction To Block Shortened Time Frame For Census Data Collection Goes Before Federal Judge
SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A federal judge in San Jose heard arguments Tuesday on a preliminary injunction that would block the U.S. Census Bureau from shortening the time frames for gathering and processing data for the 2020 census.
The plaintiffs—a group including the National Urban League and the cities of San Jose, Los Angeles and Salinas—sued the U.S. Department of Commerce and Secretary Wilbur Ross, and the Bureau and Director Steven Dillingham, based on a decision by the secretary and the director to force “the Census Bureau to compress eight-and-a-half months of vital data-collection and data-processing into four-and-a-half months, against the judgment of the bureau’s staff and in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic.”
The census is significant because the results are used to determine congressional representation and are also used in apportioning federal funds distributed to the states.
According to the plaintiffs, “undercounted cities, counties, and municipalities will lose representation in Congress and tens of millions of dollars in funding. And communities of color will lose core political power and vital services.”
The suit challenges changes made in the operational plan that guided the bureau’s data gathering and processing for the decennial census.
The initial plan was upended by the pandemic and in April revisions to the plan reset and extended a number of the deadlines in the initial plan.
However, on Aug. 3, according to the plaintiffs, the secretary and director abruptly changed course and shortened the deadlines in the revised plan. According to the plaintiffs, the staff at the bureau believed that the shortened deadlines would prevent a complete and accurate count.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh had previously entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants that prevented them from implementing the revised plan.
After the entry of the order, the government turned over internal documents. One of the documents was an email between bureau employees that stated “we need to sound the alarm to realities on the ground … it is ludicrous to think we can complete 100 percent of the nation’s data collection (by the revised deadline) … and any thinking person who would believe we can deliver apportionment (by the revised deadline) has either a mental deficiency or a political motivation.”
Most of the argument at the hearing was devoted to the technical question raised by the government of whether the decision to revise the deadlines constituted “final agency action” that could be reviewed by a court.
The judge took the matter under advisement and promised to release her decision no later than Thursday when the order expires.