facebook linkedin twitter

Litigants Take More Cooperative Approach in Census Lawsuit

February 2, 2021by Mike Scheinder, Associated Press
At least 330 million people lived in the United States as of April, according to a Census Bureau estimate. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Attorneys for a coalition of municipalities and advocacy groups that had sued the Trump administration over accuracy concerns about the 2020 census say they’re hopeful about reaching an agreement with the new Biden administration as both sides take a more cooperative approach.

Attorneys for the coalition had been seeking sanctions against Department of Justice attorneys under the Trump administration for failing to turn over documents and data showing quality measurements about the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 census data. But the coalition and Department of Justice last weekend jointly asked a federal judge in San Jose, California, to suspend for seven days an order compelling the department to turn over requested data and any proceedings seeking sanctions against the Department of Justice attorneys.

In weekend court papers, coalition attorneys said they were discussing with the Department of Justice attorneys how to move forward, given that one of President Joe Biden’s first acts upon taking office two weeks ago was rescinding two census-related directives from former President Donald Trump. The Trump directives ordered the Census Bureau to figure out who is in the U.S. illegally using administrative records and to exclude them from the apportionment of congressional seats.

Since the change in administrations, the Census Bureau also has said it will take extra time crunching the numbers used for determining how many congressional seats each state gets, with those state population count numbers ready by the end of April, the court papers said.

“While the case remains ongoing and many questions remain about census operations under the prior administration, our recent discussions with defendants have been productive and cooperative, and we expect to obtain additional information shortly regarding the pending legal issues,” Sadik Huseny, one of the plaintiff attorneys said Monday evening in a statement to The Associated Press. “In light of the new administration’s recent actions and approach, we are hopeful that we might be able to reach an agreement that ensures a full and fair count and accurate 2020 Census.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

The census data are used to determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets and the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year. The lawsuit currently was scheduled for trial in March.

The coalition of counties, cities, tribal governments and advocacy groups sued the Trump administration last year in order to stop the census from ending early out of concern that a shortened head count would cause minority communities to be undercounted. Attorneys for the coalition had argued that the head count, as well as the data processing schedule, was shortened in an effort to make sure Trump was still in office so that his apportionment order to exclude people in the country illegally could be enforced.

The coalition’s legal fight forced the once-a-decade head count to continue two weeks pas t what the Trump administration had wanted. The Trump administration tried to get the numbers-crunching for the 2020 census data finished by a Dec. 31 deadline, but the Census Bureau encountered not-unexpected data irregularities that needed to be fixed, and the date for having those numbers ready kept getting pushed back.

The coalition was seeking data and documents to help assess the accuracy of the 2020 census, saying a shortened timeline for processing the data would compromise its quality.

Last month, just days before Biden was inaugurated, attorneys for the coalition and Department of Justice attorneys reached a deal to suspend the court case for 21 days so the Biden’s administration could take power and decide how to proceed.

However, that deal did not include the motion by the coalition demanding information about how the Census Bureau collected 2020 census data, and a panel of three magistrate judges granted the coalition’s motion to compel last week. Last weekend’s agreement between the coalition and the Department of Justice puts that motion on hold.

___

A+
a-

Census

Census: Relief Payments Staved Off Hardship in COVID Crash

WASHINGTON (AP) — The share of Americans living in poverty rose slightly as the COVID-19 pandemic shook the economy last... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The share of Americans living in poverty rose slightly as the COVID-19 pandemic shook the economy last year, but massive relief payments pumped out by Congress eased hardship for many, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The official poverty measure showed an increase of... Read More

Latino City in Arizona Grew, But Census Says it Shrank

SOMERTON, Ariz. (AP) — It's a Thursday evening in Somerton, Arizona, and parents and students packed inside a middle school... Read More

SOMERTON, Ariz. (AP) — It's a Thursday evening in Somerton, Arizona, and parents and students packed inside a middle school gym are roaring for the school's wrestling team at decibels that test the eardrum. The young wrestlers are seventh and eighth graders who will be among... Read More

Census Data Sets Up Redistricting Fight Over Growing Suburbs

The once-a-decade battle over redistricting is set to be a showdown over the suburbs, as new census data showed rapid... Read More

The once-a-decade battle over redistricting is set to be a showdown over the suburbs, as new census data showed rapid growth around some of the nation's largest cities and shrinking population in many rural counties.  From Texas to Florida, some of the biggest gains reported Thursday... Read More

Report: Census Hit by Cyberattack, US Count Unaffected

U.S. Census Bureau computer servers were exploited last year during a cybersecurity attack, but it didn't involve the 2020 census,... Read More

U.S. Census Bureau computer servers were exploited last year during a cybersecurity attack, but it didn't involve the 2020 census, and hackers' attempts to keep access to the system were unsuccessful, according to a watchdog report released Wednesday. The attack took place in January 2020 on... Read More

Census Data Puts Target on Rural, Rust Belt House Districts

While suburban congressional districts are swelling with new residents, lawmakers in large swaths of rural America and some Rust Belt... Read More

While suburban congressional districts are swelling with new residents, lawmakers in large swaths of rural America and some Rust Belt cities are in need of more people to represent.  In rural Illinois, Republican Rep. Mary Miller's district is short 73,000 people. In northeastern Ohio, Democratic Rep.... Read More

August 13, 2021
by Dan McCue
Census Data Shows America Growing More Diverse, DC Whiter

Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau to jump start the redistricting process across the country reveal an America that’s... Read More

Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau to jump start the redistricting process across the country reveal an America that’s grown more diverse over the past decade. The largest demographic increases came in the number of people who identified themselves as Hispanic, Asian or a blend... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top