A federal judge in Washington D.C. struck down a national moratorium on evictions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) implemented as temporary in the 2020 Cares Act which stretched more than eight months.
D.C. District Judge Dabney Friedrich sided with the plaintiffs Wednesday challenging the CDC’s authority to halt evictions. The policy enabled a second financial crisis among landlords unable to remove cash-strapped tenants from their property on which banks still require mortgage payments.
“The pandemic has triggered difficult policy decisions that have had enormous real-world consequences. The nationwide eviction moratorium is one such decision,” Friedrich wrote. “The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not.”
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) May 5, 2021
The Biden administration had hoped to extend the moratorium on evictions through at least the end of June.
Two other federal courts have ruled this year in opposition to the health agency’s authority to implement such sweeping measures. A federal judge in Texas ruled in February the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution does not extend to granting the federal government authority to pass a moratorium on evictions. The case is currently under appeal.
Another federal judge in Ohio ruled in April neither Congress nor the executive branch possesses the authority to ban evictions nationwide.