Supreme Court Leaves CDC Eviction Moratorium Intact

( The nationwide moratorium on evictions will continue — for now.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled that the nationwide eviction moratorium that was enacted at the height of the coronavirus pandemic can remain in place for at least another month.

The narrow 5-4 majority rejected an emergency request that was filed by a group of landlords. They were asking the high court to immediately end the eviction moratorium, which was enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previously, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., had placed a stay on the moratorium. The group of landlords asked the Supreme Court to lift that stay, arguing the pause on evictions was a government overreach that was unlawful.

The three liberal justices were joined by conservative justices Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts to form the narrow majority. In a concurrence, Kavanaugh wrote:

“Because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds, I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the District Court’s stay of its order.”

Despite writing this, Kavanaugh did say that he believed the CDC exceeded the authority it had when it enacted the moratorium in the first place. In that way, he was agreeing with the thinking of the federal judge.

The other four conservative justices all said they would’ve lifted the stay immediately.

The CDC first issued the eviction moratorium in September 2020. Congress then extended the order multiple times, under both former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden.

Just last week, the Biden administration said they’d extend the order for an additional month through the end of July. It’s not expected that the order will be extended any longer than that.

In his concurrence, Kavanaugh also wrote that he believes Congress would have to pass legislation if they wanted to extend the moratorium legally beyond the current July 31 deadline.

The moratorium has allowed renters who lost some of the income during the coronavirus pandemic to avoid being evicted for not paying rent. To do so, they had to declare, under the penalty of perjury, that they tried their hardest to pay their rent, and if they were evicted, they’d face overcrowded conditions at any replacement housing.

The CDC enacted the moratorium to help stop the spread of coronavirus. They believed that if people were evicted, they would be forced to live in tight quarters with other family members or friends, which could more easily lead to the virus spreading.

At the same time, the moratorium has hurt landlords who have had to deal with a huge loss of revenue because of missed rent payments, yet they can’t do anything about it. They aren’t able to search for new tenants who can pay, because they’ve been prevented from removing the current tenants who haven’t been able to pay.