The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to shut down the 2020 U.S. census count earlier than originally planned, after putting a lower court ruling on hold that said the population count should continue until the end of the month.
The order is a blow to cities including Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle, which had joined civil rights groups in a lawsuit to keep the Oct.
31 deadline over concerns about an undercount particularly of racial minorities.
The case arose after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross changed a plan to extend the count until Oct.
31 due the coronavirus pandemic, calling for a halt to the collection of data at the end of September.
The plaintiffs argued that the "rushed" schedule would lead to inaccurate census results and "a massive undercount of the country's communities of color." The Trump administration said it changed the timeline in order to meet the end-of-the-year deadline for delivering census results to the president.
The census count's accuracy is critical, as it determines how the House of Representatives and state legislatures draw voting districts and guides the allocation of $1.5 trillion a year in government aid.
Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the only justice who publicly dissented, said the Supreme Court's action would allow the Census Bureau to "sacrifice accuracy for expediency."