With the presidential election just weeks away, the Trump administration has put the pedal to the metal on several of its most controversial measures, including a hasty confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee and the abrupt completion of the Census’ ten-year count.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the government to stop the 2020 census count ahead of schedule, “effectively shutting down what has been the most contentious and litigated census in memory,” the New York Times reported.
In what can only be interpreted as manipulation to win over a Congress that does not represent the true will of the citizenry, the government has now managed to expedite a key count that determines the number of seats at the discussion tables and the distribution of federal benefits.
Although the Supreme Court’s brief “and unsigned” order only pauses the count while a federal appeals court resolves the dispute between the government and several activist groups, the census will most likely come to an early end because, as the Times explains, the process cannot be quickly restarted, much less in such a short time.
“The court’s action will cause irreversible damage to efforts to achieve a fair and accurate census,” said Kristen Clarke, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represents many of the parties that sued. “It’s incredibly disappointing.
The tradition of the fair and accurate census of citizens in the country, once non-partisan and based on data, has been used by the government as a weapon of manipulation in the face of the risk of losing political power, especially after the Trump Administration’s chaotic handling of the pandemic.
The President has often insisted that the count should not include undocumented immigrants, contrary to the Constitution, and experts suggest that the process’s obstruction could disadvantage vulnerable communities.
As The Guardian explained, only Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she would have blocked the request to halt the proceedings.
“Meeting the deadline at the expense of the accuracy of the census is not a cost worth paying, especially when the Government has failed to show why it could not bear the lesser cost of expending more resources to meet the deadline or continuing its prior efforts to seek an extension from Congress,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent.