The Supreme Court voted yesterday (Aug. 26) to resume evictions across the country, which have been largely halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling blocked the Biden administration from enacting a temporary eviction ban extension, which would have protected roughly 3.5 million Americans from being evicted from their homes, the Associated Press reports.
The court ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reimposed a moratorium on evictions on Aug. 3, did not have the authority to do so without congressional support.
“It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken, but that has not happened,” the court’s majority wrote. “Instead, the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.”
“If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” it added.
According to AP, the court’s three liberal judges disagreed with the ruling, saying that the ban on evictions should continue because of the recent surge in Coronavirus cases.
“The public interest strongly favors respecting the CDC’s judgment at this moment, when over 90 percent of counties are experiencing high transmission rates,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also said the administration was “disappointed” by the ruling and added that President Joe 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.”
The ruling marks the latest pandemic-era policy to come to an end. On Friday (Aug. 27), the Federal Reserve suggested it would start pulling back on the bond-buying programs it imposed last year amidst COVID-19.