Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at Fox Business Network Studios in New York City in December. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday indicated she may move forward with contempt proceedings after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross defied court orders to continue the 2020 Census, Talking Points Memo first reported.

Driving the news: Ross instructed the Census to end its field operations Oct. 5, despite Judge Lucy Koh's preliminary injunction in San Jose, California, last week allowing the head count of every U.S. resident to continue through the end of October. Koh said Monday Ross was "doing exactly" what she instructed the Trump administration not to in the order, per Bloomberg.

  • Koh's injunction suspended the Census Bureau's deadline for ending the once-in-a-decade count on Sept. 30, reimposing an older Census Bureau proposal to end operations on Oct. 31, according to AP.

Of note: The judge indicated she may look at other ways to hold the government to account, Bloomberg notes.

  • "You don't have to call it contempt," she said. "You can call it something else."
  • The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: The race to finish the 2020 U.S. Census count

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