The US Supreme Court nullified the eviction moratorium issued by the White House. This ended protections for millions of Americans who fell behind on their rent payments during the pandemic. More importantly, the SC decision gave the administration of President Joe Biden its second SC setback in as many days.
Supreme Court Votes 6-3 to Lift New Eviction Moratorium
In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court lifted the new eviction moratorium. The decision said that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have the authority to issue this measure.
In addition, the decision also said that landlords currently suffer from “irreparable harm” while this ban remains in effect. In the unsigned opinion, the SC shifted the responsibility to Congress.
“It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken. But that has not happened. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.”
Meanwhile, the dissenting votes came from liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. They said that the court decided on the issue without full briefing and argument.
“The public interest strongly favors respecting the CDC’s judgment at this moment, when over 90% of counties are experiencing high transmission rates. That figure is the highest it has been since at least last winter,” Brewery wrote on behalf of the three.
White House Disappointed With Decision
Meanwhile, the White House expressed its disappointment with the higher court’s decision. Last Thursday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki credited the CDC’s eviction moratoriums for saving lives while the pandemic rages on.
“As a result of this ruling, families will face the painful impact of evictions, and communities across the country will face greater risk of exposure to Covid-19,” she added.
The lifting of the new eviction moratorium is the send loss for Bide this week. Earlier the courts sided with the Trump’s administration “Remain in Mexico” policy, saying that Biden can’t overturn it. The policy requires asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while waiting for their immigration hearing outcome.
New Eviction Moratorium Up to Congress
Previously, the Supreme Court didn’t address an earlier and similar moratorium. During that time though, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaught said that any subsequent extensions will require an Act of Congress.
However, Congress didn’t take up a measure on the new eviction moratorium. Instead, the body pushed for the President to issue a newer and limited moratorium.
Specifically, the new measure specified that the ban covers only counties with “substantial or high rates of community transmission” of the coronavirus. At present, counties with high rates comprise about 95% of the total United States.
As a result, Biden issued the new moratorium through the CDC earlier this August, soon as the original extension expired. In the new version, government lawyers argued that the Delta variant makes the eviction ban more necessary. Holding off eviction can prevent people from getting crowded accommodations.
In addition to the extended rent relief, Biden said that the measures also gives the government more time to distribute rental aid. Congress earlier granted more than $45 billion in rent relief.
Currently, state governments are charged with issuing the relief payments to landlords. However, the processing and distribution of the relief will need some time to finish.
In fact, the Treasury Department said Wednesday that they only managed to release $1.7 billion in rental assistance in July. Overall, the agency released only $5.1 billion from the $45 billion program. Hence, the reason for issuing a new moratorium even as many doubted it will pass the Supreme Court.
Landlords Say Moratorium Flouted the Law
The petitioners against the new eviction ban included landlord groups and real-estate trade associations from Alabama and Georgia. They accused the Biden administration of flouting the rule of law.
Meanwhile, Representative Cori Bush (D-MO), one of the primary supporters of the new eviction moratorium, called on Congress to act quickly. “We already know who is going to bear the brunt of this disastrous decision — Black and brown communities, and especially Black women,” Bush said in a statement.
Watch the WGN News video reporting that the US Supreme Court ends federal eviction moratorium:
Do you agree with the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the administration’s moratorium ban? What do you think is a better solution to address issues on rent payments during the pandemic?
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