The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its legal authority in September when it issued an unprecedented nationwide ban on evictions of renters who lost income during the pandemic, a federal judge decided Wednesday. US District Judge Dabney Friedrich threw out the eviction ban, which had been due to expire June 30, reports Reuters. It had been extended three times since it was first issued, most recently by President Biden in March. The Department of Justice says it plans to appeal the judge's order, the Hill reports. The eviction freeze covered renters with incomes of under $99,000 who pledged to make partial rent payments and said eviction would make them homeless or force them into shared accommodation.
The moratorium was challenged in court by landlords and real estate groups. In his ruling, Friedrich, a Trump appointee, said federal law didn't give the CDC the power to freeze evictions. "It is the role of the political branches, and not the courts, to assess the merits of policy measures designed to combat the spread of disease, even during a global pandemic," he wrote, per the Washington Post. "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." Some 43 states and Washington DC have also brought in some form of eviction protection for residents and businesses. (Read more eviction stories.)