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Wilbur Ross

Updated September 14

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his staff prepared to embark on a legal fight that would take them to the highest court in the U.S. long before announcing the controversial decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The Trump administration has lost another round in its efforts to get courts to dismiss lawsuits challenging the citizenship question it added to the 2020 census.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg issued an order allowing two cases filed at San Francisco federal court to continue.

The legal fight over the controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census is likely to continue at San Francisco federal court.

"I believe the case will proceed," U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said Friday during a hearing on whether to dismiss two of the lawsuits against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department, which oversees the census.

Months before the Justice Department submitted a formal request for a citizenship question, pressure to add one to the 2020 census was mounting from a powerful decision-maker behind the national head count: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

Editor's Note: This story contains a vulgar word.

A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that the largest of the six lawsuits against the new citizenship question on the 2020 census can move forward in court.

Updated at 12:54 p.m. ET, July 27

The U.S. Census Bureau has stopped plans to form a new committee of advisers for the upcoming 2020 census, according to a letter obtained by NPR.

The decision comes as the agency prepares for the once-a-decade head count of every person living in the country while battling multiple lawsuits over a new citizenship question and cybersecurity concerns about the first U.S. census to allow all households to respond online. Similar advisory committees were put in place before the national head counts in 2000 and 2010.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

A few months after he started leading the Commerce Department, Secretary Wilbur Ross became impatient. As a powerful decider for the U.S. census, he had a keen interest in adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census as soon as possible.

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