BY BRAD BECKETT ON MARCH 16, 2021
Several federal courts in different states have made rulings regarding the unconstitutionality of the CDC’s eviction moratorium. While the U.S. Department of Justice has appealed these rulings, they are significant developments about the issue. This post will be continually updated as information becomes available – stay tuned. Click here to read more.
(UPDATED – see below) In late February, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas ruled that the CDC’s moratorium on evictions was unconstitutional. According to the Business Insider, U.S. District Judge John Barker said that the creation of such a moratorium criminalizes the use of state legal proceedings to vindicate property rights as well as the possibility that federal agencies could extend even further control over evictions. Indeed…
“The government’s argument would thus allow a nationwide eviction moratorium long after the COVID-19 pandemic ends,” he wrote. “The eviction remedy could be suspended at any time based on fairness as perceived by Congress or perhaps an agency official delegated that judgment. Such broad authority over state remedies begins to resemble, in operation, a prohibited federal police power….Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution…”
However, within two days of the ruling, the Biden Administration’s Justice Department announced it would appeal the decision. The AP is reporting that prosecutors said they disagreed with the judge’s ruling and said it only applied to parties in this case, not broadly across the nation.
“The CDC’s eviction moratorium, which Congress extended last December, protects many renters who cannot make their monthly payments due to job loss or health care expenses,” he said. “By preventing people from becoming homeless or having to move into more-crowded housing, the moratorium helps to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The moratorium is set to expire on March 31, 2021 although it is widely anticipated to be extended once again. In addition, we recently posted about two counties in the state of Georgia that were refusing to enforce the CDC’s eviction order.
Cleveland.com is reporting that a federal judge in Cleveland, Ohio ruled that the CDC lacked authority to issue a nationwide moratorium on rental evictions. However, his 31-page order did not grant an injunction that would have stopped the CDC from enforcing the moratorium. Stay tuned…
“…in a 31-page order that the agency went beyond what the federal Public Health Service Act allows it to do. The ruling was hailed as a victory for landlords who have suffered financially during the pandemic.”
WMC-TV in Memphis is reporting that a Federal judge in Tennessee rules evictions can resume in west Tennessee. The judge ruled that the CDC did not have the authority to enforce the order and it is not enforceable in west Tennessee.