Ross v. Nat'l Urban League, No. 20A62

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation141 S.Ct. 18 (Mem),208 L.Ed.2d 169
Decision Date13 October 2020
Parties Wilbur ROSS, Secretary of Commerce, et al. v. NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE, et al.
Docket NumberNo. 20A62

141 S.Ct. 18 (Mem)
208 L.Ed.2d 169

Wilbur ROSS, Secretary of Commerce, et al.
v.
NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE, et al.

No. 20A62

Supreme Court of the United States.

October 13, 2020


The application for stay presented to Justice KAGAN and by her referred to the Court is granted. The district court's September 24, 2020 order granting a preliminary injunction is stayed pending disposition of the appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is timely sought. Should the petition for a writ of certiorari be denied, this stay shall terminate automatically. In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the stay shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court.

Justice SOTOMAYOR, dissenting from grant of stay.

Today, the Court stays a preliminary injunction requiring the Census Bureau to follow the data collection plan the agency once described as necessary to avoid "risking significant impacts on data quality." Electronic Case Filing in No. 5:20–cv–5799, Doc. 198–7 (ND Cal., Sept. 22, 2020), p. 131 (ECF). The injunction required the Bureau to continue its data collection efforts

141 S.Ct. 19

until October 31, 2020, a deadline the Bureau itself selected in response to the significant operational disruptions caused by the COVID–19 pandemic. The Government now claims that this Court's immediate intervention is necessary because, absent a stay, the Bureau will not be able to meet the December 31 statutory deadline for reporting census results to the President. This representation is contrary to the Government's repeated assertions to the courts below that it could not meet the statutory deadline under any circumstances. Moreover, 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. This Court normally does not grant extraordinary relief on such a painfully disproportionate balance of harms.

I

In April 2020, the Bureau extended the deadline for self-responses to the census questionnaire and for its NonResponse Follow-Up field operation from July 31, 2020, to October 31, 2020. In the words of the Bureau's associate director for field operations, it was "ludicrous" to expect the Bureau to "complete 100% of the nation's data collection earlier than [October 31]" in the middle of a pandemic. ––– F. Supp. 3d ––––, ––––, 2020 WL 5739144, *6 (ND Cal., Sept. 24, 2020).

The Bureau also rescheduled its anticipated report to the President. Under the Census Act, the Secretary of Commerce must deliver to the President a report conveying the results of the census by December 31, 2020. 13 U.S.C. § 141(b). The Bureau, however, moved this deadline to April 30, 2021. President Trump did not initially object, publicly stating that " ‘I don't know that you even have to ask [Congress]. This is called an act of God. This is called a situation that has to be.’ " ––– F. Supp. 3d, at ––––, 2020 WL 5739144, *37. The Bureau nonetheless requested that Congress formally extend the December 31 statutory deadline by 120 days. The House of Representatives passed a bill extending the deadline, and on July 23, 2020, a Senate Committee held a hearing on the bill.

On August 3, 2020, however, two weeks after President Trump announced his intent to exclude undocumented immigrants from the population base for congressional apportionment, Secretary Ross announced the "Replan Schedule." Under the Replan Schedule, data collection would end on September 30, 2020. The administration simultaneously stopped pushing Congress to extend the reporting deadline by 120 days.

II

Respondents, who are advocacy groups, cities, counties, and Native tribes, sued to enjoin the Replan Schedule. The District Court issued detailed factual findings, concluding that respondents had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the Bureau's reversal was arbitrary and capricious,1 and that the

141 S.Ct. 20

harms to respondents absent an injunction vastly outweighed any harm the injunction would cause the Government. The court preliminarily enjoined the Replan Schedule's September 30 deadline for completing data collection (i.e., the deadline for individuals to complete the census questionnaire and for the Bureau to wrap up its field operations) and the December 31 deadline for reporting the results to the President. The District Court subsequently clarified that the Bureau's original October 31 deadline for data collection would be reinstated. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the injunction as to the December 31 deadline, but affirmed...

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11 practice notes
  • Trump v. New York, No. 20-366
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • December 18, 2020
    ...stay pending appeal so as to hasten the Government's efforts ahead of these deadlines. See Ross v. National Urban League , 592 U.S. ––––, 141 S.Ct. 18, ––– L.Ed.2d –––– (2020). Presumably, waiting to resolve this issue until after the President submits his tabulation will cause further hard......
  • Ohio v. Raimondo, Case No. 3:21-cv-064
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • March 24, 2021
    ...operations in mid-October 2020, having resolved 99.9% of all housing units in the process. See Ross v. Nat'l Urb. League , ––– U.S. ––––, 141 S. Ct. 18, 208 L.Ed.2d 169 (2020) ; Thieme Decl. ¶ 35.But once the Census Bureau has collected responses it must then "summarize the individual and h......
  • Nat'l Urban League v. Ross, Case No. 20-CV-05799-LHK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • December 22, 2020
    ...collection endpoint." Id. at 781.Defendants then sought a stay from the Supreme Court. See Ross v. National Urban League , ––– U.S. ––––, 141 S.Ct. 18, 208 L.Ed.2d 169 (2020) (case docket), https://www.supremecourt.gov/docket. Defendants represented to the Supreme Court that, with a stay, D......
  • Alabama v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce, Case No. 3:21-cv-211-RAH-ECM-KCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • June 29, 2021
    ...in California, the Census Bureau ended its field operations in mid-October 2020. See Ross v. Nat'l Urban League , ––– U.S. ––––, 141 S. Ct. 18, 208 L.Ed.2d 169 (2020). All told, this resulted in the Bureau reporting results of the 2020 Census on April 26, 2021, almost four months after it w......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • Trump v. New York, No. 20-366
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • December 18, 2020
    ...stay pending appeal so as to hasten the Government's efforts ahead of these deadlines. See Ross v. National Urban League , 592 U.S. ––––, 141 S.Ct. 18, ––– L.Ed.2d –––– (2020). Presumably, waiting to resolve this issue until after the President submits his tabulation will cause further hard......
  • Ohio v. Raimondo, Case No. 3:21-cv-064
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • March 24, 2021
    ...operations in mid-October 2020, having resolved 99.9% of all housing units in the process. See Ross v. Nat'l Urb. League , ––– U.S. ––––, 141 S. Ct. 18, 208 L.Ed.2d 169 (2020) ; Thieme Decl. ¶ 35.But once the Census Bureau has collected responses it must then "summarize the individual and h......
  • Nat'l Urban League v. Ross, Case No. 20-CV-05799-LHK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • December 22, 2020
    ...collection endpoint." Id. at 781.Defendants then sought a stay from the Supreme Court. See Ross v. National Urban League , ––– U.S. ––––, 141 S.Ct. 18, 208 L.Ed.2d 169 (2020) (case docket), https://www.supremecourt.gov/docket. Defendants represented to the Supreme Court that, with a stay, D......
  • Alabama v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce, Case No. 3:21-cv-211-RAH-ECM-KCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • June 29, 2021
    ...in California, the Census Bureau ended its field operations in mid-October 2020. See Ross v. Nat'l Urban League , ––– U.S. ––––, 141 S. Ct. 18, 208 L.Ed.2d 169 (2020). All told, this resulted in the Bureau reporting results of the 2020 Census on April 26, 2021, almost four months after it w......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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