Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the census would conclude early despite a judge’s order that it must continue until late October, The Associated Press reports.
The agency said in a tweet on Monday that the census would conclude on October 5, weeks before the court-ordered date.
The tweet said that Census workers would no longer be able to go door-to-door and people will no longer be able to self-respond.
The move comes after California US District Judge Lucy Koh issued a preliminary injunction last week that blocked the agency from setting September 30 as its new end date.
The move automatically reverted the schedule to the original Census plan, which would conclude on October 31.
Is admin violation court order?
The AP noted that the October 5 deadline “doesn’t necessarily violate” the judge’s order because the injunction only applied to field operations and a December 31 deadline for the bureau to turn in their numbers for how many congressional seats each state will be apportioned.
Koh requested that the Commerce Department provide documents on how the October 5 decision was reached.
A government lawyer pointed to the agency’s tweet and suggested there were no records.
“A one sentence tweet? Are you saying that is enough reason to establish decision-making? A one sentence tweet?” Koh pressed.
Koh warns of inaccurate count:
Koh said that Trump’s shortened schedule would result in inaccurate results that would be baked into the system for the next decade.
Government attorneys vowed to appeal the decision.
Workers continued to be pressured to wrap up by September 30 despite Koh’s order, according to the AP.
“It is time that the Trump Administration stopped working to politicize and jeopardize the 2020 Census,” said House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney.