Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said he is disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to halt the U.S. Census count immediately while a lower court’s appeals case continues.
“Today’s decision will result in a less accurate census — unduly predicated on guesswork, rather than actual counting — with fair political representation and crucial federal funding at risk for cities like Los Angeles,” Feuer said. “While we’re disappointed, our fight is not over. The stakes are too high for the matter to end here.”
A coalition — which includes the city of Los Angeles, local governments and civil rights organizations — sued the Trump administration in August after it was announced that counting would end Sept. 30.
Earlier this month, a ruling was made in favor of Los Angeles and the coalition in the Northern District of California by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, which required the U.S. Census Bureau to continue to count people through Oct. 31 despite the Trump administration’s attempt to change the end date to a month earlier.
Shortly after a Sept. 25 issuance of a preliminary injunction from Koh, the administration filed a motion to block the court’s ruling, and after the ruling it filed an appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court.
In April, when the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages and stay-at-home orders had been issued in certain regions across the nation, the Census Bureau announced it would extend the deadline for people to respond to Oct. 31. But on Aug. 3, the bureau shortened the deadline to Sept. 30.
The lawsuit from Los Angeles and the coalition also seeks to give the Census Bureau until April instead of Dec. 31, which was part of the census plan devised earlier this year.
Two weeks ago, Feuer told reporters he was “confident” that even if the ruling went to the U.S. Supreme Court, it would be upheld because it is so “thorough and well-reasoned.”
Earlier in October, Mayor Eric Garcetti said the Los Angeles region’s response rate to the census was at 57.5% — far below the last census count in 2010 when 68% of residents responded, and below this year’s state average of 65%.
Prior to filing the suit, Feuer issued a demand letter to the U.S. Census Bureau seeking confirmation that it was changing direction and implementing the rushed plan instead of the COVID-19 plan.
Feuer said four former U.S. Census directors told him the compressed timeline would “result in seriously incomplete enumeration in many areas across our country.”
Los Angeles was joined in filing the lawsuit by the League of Women Voters of the United States, National Urban League, Black Alliance for Immigration, the cities of Salinas and San Jose, and Harris County, Texas, Court Commissioners Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia.
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