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Gov. Phil Murphy with Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Murphy not taking court decision extending census deadline for granted

Governor preparing for the worst as Trump administration readies appeal

By Nikita Biryukov, September 25 2020 3:07 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy isn’t taking a federal order nixing the Trump administration’s plan to stop census counts one month early for granted.

“We are extremely pleased by yesterday’s federal court ruling extending the 2020 census through to the end of October,” Murphy said during Friday’s COVID-19 briefing. “That’s the good news, but I’m in the hope for the best, prepare for the worst (camp). We are not going to let up in our work to make sure that every New Jerseyan is properly counted by September 30th.”

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh issued a preliminary injunction requiring the Census Bureau to continue its count until Oct. 31 instead of ending it on Sept. 31 as ordered by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Koh said the premature end would likely undercount immigrants and people of color, leaving them underrepresented after new districts are drawn next year.

The Trump administration intends to appeal the decision.

“To put it succinctly, this is our last push not just for this month or this year but for the next decade. What you do to get counted will impact our state for the next — literally — 10 years,” Murphy said. “The amount of federal funds we receive for our schools, our transportation systems, our health care, including, by the way, our representation in Congress. Responding to the census is our civic duty. It is safe. It is secure. It is vitally important.”

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