Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Eviction Moratorium

The majority opinion claims the CDC overstepped its authority and calls for congressional approval of any further eviction moratoriums.

2 minute read

August 29, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Supreme Court of the United States

Phil Roeder / Flickr

In a decision split between the Court's conservative and liberal justices, the Supreme Court "rejected the Biden administration’s latest moratorium on evictions, ending a political and legal dispute during a public health crisis in which the administration’s shifting positions had subjected it to criticism from adversaries and allies alike."

As reported by Adam Liptak and Glenn Thrush, "[t]he decision puts hundreds of thousands of tenants at risk of losing shelter, while the administration struggles to speed the flow of billions of dollars in federal funding to people who are behind in rent because of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated economic hardship."

The Court's decision stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "had exceeded its authority" by using a "a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination" to impose a sweeping eviction moratorium. According to the majority opinion, "[i]f a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it."

A statement from the White House criticized the decision, saying "[a]s a result of this ruling, families will face the painful impact of evictions, and communities across the country will face greater risk of exposure to Covid-19." States such as New York and California have extended their own eviction moratoriums as they struggle to distribute the millions in rental assistance funds that remain stuck in bureaucratic limbo.

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