CV NEWS FEED // The Supreme Court struck down a Biden-backed eviction moratorium in a 6-3 ruling Thursday, with the three liberal justices dissenting.
The ruling comes after landlords made their case to the Court that the Biden administration’s did not have the authority to impose and renew the moratorium.
“The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions of any tenants who live in a county that is experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID–19 transmission and who make certain declarations of financial need,” explained the Supreme Court majority opinion:
The Alabama Association of Realtors (along with other plaintiffs) obtained a judgment from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacating the moratorium on the ground that it is unlawful. But the District Court stayed its judgment while the Government pursued an appeal. We vacate that stay, rendering the judgment enforceable.
“It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken,” the Supreme Court opinion stated. “But that has not happened.”
Instead, the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.
President Biden has been a big backer of the moratorium, speaking of it regularly, and arguing that it was necessary to protect vulnerable Americans from the COVID-19 virus.
Critics, however, have pointed out the devastating impact the moratorium has had on the well-being of the Americans whom the administration said it wanted to protect.
Republican commentator Matt Whitlock pointed out Thursday that the Supreme Court ruling might have been expected, since President Biden himself recently commented that he did not believe his moratorium extension would likely hold up as constitutional under scrutiny.
Moreover, Whitlock argued, the end of the moratorium will be a boon to many working class Americans who have suffered as a result of the economic lockdown the moratorium represented. “You know who is most relieved tonight? Black and Hispanic small landlords, who suffered the most under Biden’s unconditional eviction moratorium,” Whitlock wrote.
He then shared a number of examples of “people all over the country hurt by this overreach — single mom veterans, kids with student loans, struggling families screwed by Joe Biden.”
“The vast majority of landlords in New Orleans and Baton Rouge are Mom and Pops, they just can’t financially sustain it anymore because they have the taxes, they have the insurance, they have the water bill,” he wrote, citing a source video.
“Local media in DC reported that some small landlords were stuck with violent tenants who threatened them AND other tenants,” Whitlock continued. “One landlord was violently attacked by a non-paying tenant .. but was still responsible for maintenance in the unit.”
A small landlord in North Carolina whose living came from tenants on the properties he maintains lost $24,000 as of early August. His tenants “used their extra cash (from not paying rent) to buy new boats and fun toys.”
In Chicago, small landlords are required by local codes “to keep up maintenance in their properties,” but without rent they’ve had to pay for maintenance “out of pocket, even going into mountains of debt.”
Whitlock also cited a New York Times writeup about a young physician’s assistant in Queens, who “rented out her basement for extra income to pay for student loans.” The eviction moratorium changed everything for her. “Knowing they couldn’t be evicted, her tenants spit on her, keyed her car, stole her mail, and refused to pay $23,000 in rent.”
Whitlock concluded by pointing out that the examples of people who suffered losses from the moratorium were “disproportionately people of color. The Biden administration and its allies in Congress “wanted you to think every landlord is Warren Buffet,” he wrote, “but they’re not.”