The Biden administration on Monday asked the Supreme Court to leave intact an eviction freeze put in place amid the increased spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.
In a court filing, government lawyers urged the court to lift the Moratorium on evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) while the administration appeals a lower court ruling that ruled the illegal measure.
“The CDC has statutory authority to stop evictions to prevent the spread of communicable diseases,” the government argued in its brief, noting that the pandemic has worsened since the last time judges faced the freeze on evictions.
The Supreme Court reviewed an earlier version of the moratorium in June, with justices voting 5 to 4 to reject an offer from a group of homeowners to effectively end the policy. The minority vote included four of the court’s most conservative justices – Clarence thomasClarence Thomas Is the moratorium on evictions legal? Canceling culture still has a lot of culture to cancel Federal judge rejects efforts to block moratorium on evictions MORE, Samuel alitoSamuel AlitoIs the moratorium on evictions legal? Federal judge rejects efforts to block deportation moratorium, Neil gorsuchNeil GorsuchIs the moratorium on evictions legal? Republican rhetoric vs reality: Vaccination mandates are constitutional Federal judge rejects efforts to block moratorium on evictions MORE and Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettBarrett rejects offer to stop construction of Obama Library Judicial black box of Supreme Court recusal Chicago group calls on Supreme Court to block construction of Obama Library MORE – who indicated that they would have blocked the policy at that time.
Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael Kavanaugh Court of Appeals dismisses efforts to end Biden’s eviction moratorium Is the eviction moratorium legal? Federal judge rejects efforts to block moratorium on deportations MORE surprised some court observers by joining the majority of the five judges in dismissing the owners’ request. However, Kavanaugh also said Congress should pass new legislation for the CDC to legally push the previous moratorium past its July 31 expiration date.
But Congress did not renew the policy. Instead, the Biden administration acted unilaterally in early August to renew the freeze on evictions, which is now expected to last until early October.
The new moratorium only covers areas with higher infection rates, making it more targeted than the previous national freeze. Yet the latest ban earlier this month applied to more than 90% of US counties.
The CDC policy, originally enacted in September and subsequently extended on several occasions, protects tenants who declare under penalty of perjury that they are unable to pay their rent and that they would face overcrowded conditions. if they were expelled.
The moratorium has faced numerous legal challenges, leading to a patchwork of interpretations nationwide on its legality.
In May, a federal judge in Washington, DC, ruled that the CDC’s suspension of evictions was an illegal exercise of the agency’s authority. But the judge, Dabney Friedrich, appointed by Trump, agreed to delay the execution of her decision, citing the risk to public health if the evictions were allowed.
The challengers in the case, led by the Alabama Association of Realtors, are now asking the Supreme Court to give effect to Friedrich’s ruling immediately. Friedrich and the DC Intermediate Federal Court of Appeal denied their claim.