The United States Supreme Court overturned the Biden administration’s extension of the eviction moratorium. A group of Alabama landlords successfully petitioned the highest court because the Centers for Disease Control did not have the authority to enforce the order.
One of the newest SCOTUS justices, Brett Kavanaugh, wrote that extending the eviction moratorium would require a congressional process, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,” Kavanaugh wrote.
However, he voted with four other judges to allow the moratorium to continue because it was set to expire on July 31.
The Biden administration extended the moratorium for two months after a rallying cry from tenants and politicians such as Cori Bush that the pandemic economy has not rebounded enough to allow tenants to catch up on back rent and current rent.
The SCOTUS’ three liberal justices dissented the unsigned decision of the court.
“The public interest strongly favors respecting the CDC’s judgment at this moment, when over 90% of counties are experiencing high transmission rates,” asserted Justice Stephen G. Breyer.
The moratorium being overturned is not a surprise to those who have been keeping watch. Kavanaugh narrowly sided with the liberal judges in a previous lawsuit on the matter in June but indicated that he would not do so again.
The plaintiffs in the case were the Alabama Association of Realtors and other landlords. The group previously fought the eviction moratorium in U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia and won. However, the court stayed the judgment while the government appealed. Their application to the Supreme Court was used to vacate the stay.
Congress approved $50 billion to assist renters with back rent and avoid eviction. Still, tenants have not gotten relief in the counties where the aid is most needed, mostly due to an administrative bottleneck. Further, there is a cap on how much aid each applicant can receive in some counties, and that often is not enough to cover their arrearage and remain housed.
With the current ruling, housing groups fear that the trouble distributing aid funds will cause landlords to become frustrated and carry out their eviction plans.
Congress currently does not have enough votes to renew the order.