Sunday, December 5

US Supreme Court Blocks Biden’s Eviction Moratorium | Supreme Court of the United States

The conservative majority of the US Supreme Court is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, preventing the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The court action ends protections for an estimated 3.5 million people in the United States who said they would face eviction in the next two months, according to Census Bureau data from early August.

The court said Thursday night in an unsigned opinion that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which reimposed the moratorium on Aug. 3, lacked the authority to do so under federal law without a explicit authorization from Congress.

The judges rejected the administration’s arguments in support of the CDC’s authority.

“If a federally imposed moratorium on eviction is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” the court wrote.

The three liberal judges disagreed. Judge Stephen Breyer, representing all three, pointed to the rise in Covid-19 caused by the delta variant as one of the reasons the court should have dropped the moratorium.

“The public interest strongly favors respect for CDC judgment at this time, when more than 90% of counties are experiencing high transmission rates,” Breyer wrote.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was “disappointed” by the decision and said Joe Biden “is calling once again on all entities that can prevent evictions, from cities and states to courts. locals, landlords, cabinet agencies “act urgently to prevent evictions.”

Congresswoman Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat who had camped outside the Capitol when the eviction moratorium expired late last month, said Congress must act to restore protections.

“We are in an ongoing and unprecedented crisis that demands compassionate solutions that focus on the needs of the people and communities who most need our help. We need to give our communities time to recover from this devastating pandemic, ”he said in a statement.

“We don’t sleep on those steps just to give up now. Congress must act immediately to avoid mass evictions ”.

It was the second loss for the administration this week at the hands of the conservative majority of the high court.

On Tuesday, the court effectively allowed the reinstatement of a Trump-era policy that forced asylum seekers to wait for their hearings in Mexico.

The new administration had tried to end the Remain in Mexico program, as it is informally known.

On evictions, the president of the United States acknowledged the legal headwinds that the new moratorium would likely face. But Biden said that even with doubts about what the courts would do, it was worth a try because it would buy at least a few weeks of time for the distribution of more than the $ 46.5 billion in rental assistance that Congress had approved.

The Treasury department said Wednesday that the pace of distribution has increased and nearly a million households have been helped. But only about 11% of the money – just over $ 5 billion – has been distributed by state and local governments, the department said.

A handful of states, including California, Maryland and New Jersey, have established their own temporary eviction bans. In a separate order earlier this month, the superior court ended some protections for New York residents who had fallen behind on their rents during the pandemic.

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