Second CDC Eviction Moratorium Overturned By Supreme Court
In a 6-3 decision, with the three left-leaning justices dissenting, the Supreme Court voted Thursday night to strike down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's second moratorium, Reuters reports. The CDC imposed the more recent, more targeted moratorium on Aug. 3, days after its original moratorium expired on July 31.
At the end of June, the court voted to uphold the first moratorium, using the specific justification that it was due to expire in a month. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who wrote the majority decision in that case, cited the executive branch's power to issue orders in the face of an immediate danger to public health but wrote in the decision that the public health danger would be over at the end of July, National Housing Law Project Director of Litigation Eric Dunn told Bisnow in the final days of the first moratorium.
"That’s not being a good judge; it’s completely inappropriate and just broken government," Dunn said. "It has tied the hands of the administration if they try to extend [the moratorium] because of the delta variant, or because of [the threat of] a wave of evictions. That's just the Supreme Court usurping the role of public health authorities."
As with the first decision, the plaintiff in the case that brought down the second moratorium was the Alabama Association of Realtors. The majority decision wasn't signed by a specific judge.
Since landlords were allowed to file for evictions all along, some local courts used the two days between moratoriums to authorize the removal of tenants. Just a small fraction of the $46B in federal rent relief allocated by congressional stimulus packages has been distributed to tenants, and millions still owe months in back rent.
Landlord groups hailed the court's decision in the aftermath; the National Multifamily Housing Coalition issued a statement Friday morning in support of the ruling.
"[A] long-term eviction moratorium was never the right policy," the group said in a statement. "It does nothing to speed the delivery of real solutions for America’s renters and ignores the unsustainable and unfair economic burden placed on millions of housing providers, jeopardizing their financial stability and threatening the loss of affordable housing stock nationwide."
With only a handful of states and jurisdictions still having their own moratoriums in place, it would appear housing courts in most of the country can immediately begin issuing eviction orders.
UPDATE, AUG. 27, 9:30 A.M. ET: This story has been updated to include a statement from the NMHC.