The Trump administration on Wednesday filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court seeking to halt the 2020 census count.
The filing comes hours after a California-based U.S. appeals court denied a similar request from the administration to reverse a lower court's order requiring the count to continue through October, rather than reinstate the administration's since-passed Oct. 5 deadline.
The administration told the justices that the shorter window is necessary to allow the Commerce Department to wrap up operations in time to meet its end of year deadline to report the results to the White House.
But critics say the move risks undercounting minority populations composed of both legal and undocumented immigrants.
Earlier Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit denied the administration’s appeal of the district judge’s order that extended the census deadline through Oct. 31.
The panel wrote that failure to meet the Dec. 31 reporting deadline was unlikely to invalidate the numbers delivered to President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE.
The appeals court also left open the option of Congress passing an extension if the numbers are delivered after the deadline. Congress took similar steps in the census counts conducted for three decades in the 19th century.
The administration has continued its push to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count, despite a Supreme Court ruling that blocked the administration from including a question on the census about the recipient’s legal status in the U.S.
Updated at 8:50 p.m.