The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday to uphold the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, forcing landlords to house tenants who don’t pay rent. The moratorium, which has been in place since September, was set to expire this month but was extended by the CDC through July 31.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh was the deciding vote for the divided court. His decision, which was seemingly rooted in practicality instead of legality, argued that the CDC’s eviction ban did exceed its authority but should be kept in place since it is only set to last for another month.
“Because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds, I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the District Court’s stay of its order,” Kavanaugh wrote.
The emergency application, which was filed by the Alabama Association of Realtors, argued that the CDC’s unconstitutional eviction ban has cost landlords and property owners billions of dollars each month.
“Landlords have been losing over $13 billion every month under the moratorium, and the total effect of the CDC’s overreach may reach up to $200 billion if it remains in effect for a year,” the application stated.
The realtors also argued that recent vaccine availability and updated mask guidance means there is no scientific basis for renewing the eviction through July.
“If Americans can safely gather together indoors without adhering to the most basic COVID-19 precautions, then there is no longer any public-health rationale for the moratorium,” the application read. “The CDC’s continued insistence that public-health concerns necessitate that landlords continue to provide free housing for tenants who have received vaccines (or passed up the chance to get them) is sheer doublespeak. In reality, the eviction moratorium has become an instrument of economic policy rather than of disease control.”