Michael Cardinal, FISM News
The CDC has ordered an eviction ban through October 3rd in counties experiencing “substantial and high levels of community” spread, which would currently include nearly 90% of the US population.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed the order on Tuesday to “prevent the spread of communicable disease” claiming it was necessary in order to keep “people out of congregate settings and in their own homes.” The order also says that this will “allow additional time for rent relief to reach renters and to further increase vaccination rates.” Landlords who violate the order can face up to $250,000 in fines and year in jail.
This comes after House Democrats had pressured the White House to reinstitute the moratorium after it had lapsed on July 31. Representative Cori Bush even staged a publicity stunt in which she slept on the steps of the Congress Building, showing solidarity with those who would become homeless without protection from the bill.
Many of my Democratic colleagues chose to go on vacation early today rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes.
I’ll be sleeping outside the Capitol tonight. We’ve still got work to do. pic.twitter.com/9l52lWBM73
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 31, 2021
While Biden had originally said he did not have the authority to renew the eviction moratorium due to a Supreme Court ruling on the issue, he asked the CDC to seek options to prevent landlords from evicting tenants. In a briefing on Tuesday, Biden said he doesn’t know if the order is constitutionally viable, but that there is a slim chance the new order could hold up in court, saying “it’s worth the effort.” Biden then admitted that the order may be a stalling measure, saying at the very least it “will probably give some additional time” for the federal and state governments to release additional funds providing renter relief.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote an opinion on the matter in June in a case filed by the Alabama Association of Realtors which would provide precedent against the legality of the new order. In it Kavanaugh wrote:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium.”
However, the Court ruled that since the eviction ban was set to expire in a few weeks that it would not vacate the order at that time. Kavanaugh concluded the opinion by saying “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
It appears that the CDC is ignoring the Supreme Court ruling, trying to expose a loophole by making a new order rather than extending the original order.
In the few days since the previous order had ended, many landlords had quickly given tenants eviction notices and had filed court documents in efforts to recoup unpaid rent. National Apartment Association president and CEO Bob Pinnegar said the organization “has always held the same position – the eviction moratorium is an unfunded government mandate that forces housing providers to deliver a costly service without compensation and saddles renters with insurmountable debt.”
The CDC having authority over the business decisions of small business owners is unprecedented. With the backing of the Supreme Courts ruling it is likely that many landlords will seek legal relief from the new order.