The Supreme Court's conservative majority is allowing evictions to resume across the US, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. The court's action late Thursday ends protections for roughly 3.5 million people who said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to Census Bureau data from early August. The court said in an unsigned opinion that the CDC, which reimposed the moratorium Aug. 3, lacked the authority to do so under federal law without explicit congressional authorization, the AP reports.
The justices rejected the administration's arguments in support of the CDC's authority. “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” the court wrote. The three liberal justices dissented. Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the three, pointed to the increase in COVID-19 caused by the delta variant as one of the reasons the court should have left the moratorium in place. “The public interest strongly favors respecting the CDC’s judgment at this moment, when over 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 President Biden “is once again calling on all entities that can prevent evictions—from cities and states to local courts, landlords, Cabinet Agencies—to urgently act to prevent evictions.” A handful of states, including California, Maryland and New Jersey, have put in place their own temporary bans on evictions. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)