Supreme Court Decides: Landlords can Soon Evict Tenants who do not Pay Rent
By Yehudit Garmaise
When word got out that the Biden administration wanted to continue to disallow landlords from evicting tenants in a moratorium that was set to expire in October, a group of landlords argued that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have the legal authority to impose such a restriction.
Tonight: six US Supreme Court justices agreed with those landlords.
“Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it claims,” the landlords argued in their filing in the Supreme Court,” argued a group of landlords, who said they have been collectively losing as much as $19 billion a month.
In what was a victory for landlords and a defeat for President Joe Biden, the US Supreme Court, in a 6 to 3 vote, decided tonight that the CDC can no longer continue its ongoing efforts to prevent landlords from evicting tenants who cannot pay their rent.
In March 2020, as part of the first coronavirus stimulus bill to help Americans who were struggling financially, the US Congress first prohibited landlords from evicting tenants, due to unpaid rent.
When that first eviction moratorium, created in a global pandemic and financial crisis, expired last year, former President Donald Trump directed the CDC to issue an eviction moratorium that extended through the end of July 2021.
Although in April 2020, the unemployment rate reached 14.8%, which was the highest rate that has been observed since employment began collecting employment data in 1948, the national unemployment rate has now dropped to a very low 5.4%: showing that the vast majority of Americans have by now returned to work.
In addition, the US economy added 943,000 jobs in July, the Congressional Research Service reported.
Despite what appears to be an opportune time for Americans to get work to be able to pay their rent, the Biden administration sought to continue to prevent landlords from evicting tenants who do not pay their rent: 18 months after the eviction moratorium was first enacted.
Although Biden was concerned that the CDC did not have the legal authority to issue a new moratorium and thereby continuing to prevent landlords from evicting tenants who do not pay rent, Democrats pressured the president to direct the CDC to issue a new moratorium that would only apply in counties with a high COVID rates.
“It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts,” the conservative justices on the US Supreme Court wrote in their opinion.
The court's three liberal justices: Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagen all dissented from tonight's decision.
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