A federal judge ordered the US Census Bureau to stop winding down data collection efforts after plan by Trump administration cut down its timeline

  • A federal judge ordered that the US Census Bureau temporarily cease easing up on data collection efforts for the 2020 Census.
  • The order allows the bureau to continue its data collection efforts normally until a court hearing on Sept. 17.
  • A plan from administration officials previously cut collection efforts to four months, down from the original eight months, according to the order.
  • The results of the Census influence the division of $1.5 trillion in federal funding, as well as determine how many congressional seats each state receives.
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A federal judge ordered that the US Census Bureau temporarily cease easing up on data collection efforts for the 2020 Census.

In a temporary restraining order issued Saturday night, US District Judge Lucy Koh moved to block White House officials, like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, from "winding down or altering any Census field operations."

The order puts a pin in a plan that originally instructed the Bureau to wind down data collection operations by September 30. With the order, the Census Bureau can continue to collect data normally until a court hearing on September 17.

Officials within the Trump administration moved to halve the amount of time Census officials would be able to engage in data collection efforts. The plan, rolled out by Trump administration officials, cut collection efforts to four months, down from the original eight months, according to the order.

The new plan from the Trump administration also pushed for the Census Bureau to stop collection efforts entirely by September 30, which is about a month before the original deadline, the order said.

The order was filed after several civil-rights groups took action against the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau, arguing that a truncated data collection period would lead to inaccurate Census data and potentially overlook historically undercounted groups of people like minority communities.

The Census is a once-in-a-decade government-run data collection effort whose goal is to count and qualify every person in the United States. The results of the Census influence the division of $1.5 trillion in federal funding, as well as determine how many congressional seats each state receives.

In her order, Koh wrote that inaccurate data collection efforts might lead to "potentially irreparable" harms.

"Because the decennial census is at issue here, an inaccurate count would not be remedied for another decade, which would affect the distribution of federal and state funding, the deployment of services, and the allocation of local resources for a decade," Koh wrote.

Neither the Census Bureau nor the Commerce Department immediately responded to Insider's request for comment.

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