U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has taken the extraordinary step and has begun contempt proceedings against the Trump administration’s Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
Judge Koh is accusing Ross of defying her order and disobeying her ruling to not halt the Census count early as is the current plan.
This is not Pelosi’s weak ability to hold the Trump administration in contempt that is all but toothless. This is a federal judge and the consequences for Ross could be severe should he be held in contempt.
From The Hill:
The launch of contempt proceedings came after the U.S. Census Bureau and Ross announced on Twitter that Oct. 5 was the “target date” to finish self-response and field data collection operations on the 2020 census.
Koh said that Ross and the department were “doing exactly” what she ordered officials not to do last week, when she issued a preliminary injunction preventing the administration from ending the census before the scheduled Oct. 31.
August Flentje, an attorney for the Commerce Department, expressed frustration about her order to provide administrative documentation on why Ross designated Oct. 5 as a “target date.”
“To call this a contempt situation is not reasonable,” Flentje said, according to Bloomberg News. “We need significant time to address something that weighty.”
He also countered Koh’s labeling as a “decision” Ross announcing the Oct. 5 target date, saying it instead reflects the “contingency planning for the re-imposition of the December 31st date.”
Koh responded that it doesn’t matter if it’s called a “pickle” or a “banana.”
“I’m not invested in what you call it, but I think it’s inconsistent with what I ordered last Thursday,” she said.
The Department of Commerce did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Secretary of Commerce has announced a target date of October 5, 2020 to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations.
— U.S. Census Bureau (@uscensusbureau) September 28, 2020
From USA Today:
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge’s ruling last week allowing the head count of every U.S. resident to continue through the end of October, according to a tweet posted by the Census Bureau on Monday.
The tweet said the ability for people to self-respond to the census questionnaire and the door-knocking phase when census takers go to homes that haven’t responded are targeted to end Oct. 5.
A virtual hearing was held in San Jose, California, as a follow-up to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s preliminary injunction. The injunction issued last week suspended the Census Bureau’s deadline for ending the head count Sept. 30, which automatically reverted back to an older Census Bureau plan in which the timeline for ending field operations was Oct. 31.