Supreme Court blocks Biden administration’s latest ban on evictions


Supreme Court blocks Biden administration’s latest ban on evictions

Supreme Court blocks Biden administration’s latest ban on evictions

The Supreme Court on Thursday lifted the Biden administration’s newest federal ban on evictions, granting a bid from a group of landlords to block the pandemic-related protections for renters facing eviction in most of the country.

In an unsigned opinion with the three liberal justices in dissent, the divided court said that “careful review” of the case “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,” the court said. “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.”

The court said that “if a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it.”

The White House issued a statement late Thursday, saying the Biden administration is “disappointed” the Supreme Court blocked the moratorium amid another surge in COVID-19 cases.

“In light of the Supreme Court ruling and the continued risk of COVID-19 transmission, President Biden is once again calling on all entities that can prevent evictions – from cities and states to local courts, landlords, Cabinet Agencies – to urgently act to prevent evictions,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer noted the recent spike in COVID-19 transmission rates and warned that allowing evictions to resume could have dangerous public health consequences.

“The CDC targets only those people who have nowhere else to live, in areas with dangerous levels of community transmission,” wrote Breyer, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. “These people may end up with relatives, in shelters, or seeking beds in other congregant facilities where the doubly contagious Delta variant threatens to spread quickly.”

The questions raised by the case, Breyer continued, “call for considered decisionmaking, informed by full briefing and argument,” and “their answers impact the health of millions.”

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