“the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.”
The U.S. Supreme Court just issued an Opinion that halts the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium issued by the CDC.
A District Court had ruled the moratorium illegal, but stayed its decision pending appeal. In a prior visit to SCOTUS, the stay was left in place because the moratorium was about to expire anyway, but a majority made clear that the moratorium was illegal. But after the moratorium expired, it was quickly reimposed in a slightly modified format, basically thumbing their noses at SCOTUS.
The case came back to SCOTUS, and this time the majority of Justices, with the usual suspects dissenting, ruled that the CDC exceeded its authority.
From the Per Curiam Opinion:
The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions of any tenants who live in a county that is experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID–19 transmission and who make certain declarations of financial need. 86 Fed. Reg. 43244 (2021). The Alabama Association of Realtors (along with other plaintiffs) obtained a judgment from the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacating the moratorium on the ground that it is unlawful. But the District Court stayed its judgment while the Government pursued an appeal. We vacate that stay, rendering the judgment enforceable. The District Court produced a comprehensive opinion concluding that the statute on which the CDC relies does not grant it the authority it claims. The case has been thoroughly briefed before us—twice. And careful review of that record makes clear that the applicants are virtually certain to succeed on the merits of their argument that the CDC has exceeded its authority. It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken. But that has not happened. Instead, the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.
* * *
If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it. The application to vacate stay presented to THE CHIEF JUSTICE and by him referred to the Court is granted.
Breyer penned a dissent, joined by Sotomayor and Kagan:
Applicants raise contested legal questions about an important federal statute on which the lower courts are split and on which this Court has never actually spoken. These questions call for considered decisionmaking, informed by full briefing and argument. Their answers impact the health of millions. We should not set aside the CDC’s eviction moratorium in this summary proceeding. The criteria for granting the emergency application are not met. I respectfully dissent.
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