In a 5-4 vote in June, the Supreme Court allowed an eviction moratorium to remain in place but only through the end of July.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion stating stating that action by Congress would be required to extend it further.
“In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,” wrote Kavanaugh.
This was a huge warning shot to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Biden Administration to get their act together. Neither took heed.
Biden Caves Under Pressure
President Biden repeatedly and accurately cited the Supreme Court ruling as a reason he could not extend the moratorium.
But under political pressure from progressives, Biden extended the moratorium anyway, slightly rewording it so that it only applied to about 90% of the nation as determined by the CDC instead of an outright ban.
Legal Battle Looms Over New Eviction Moratorium
Amid preposterous cries of "Cancel Rent", a Legal Battle Looms Over New Eviction Moratorium.
The Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium is set to face an immediate and possibly fast-moving legal challenge that could present high hurdles for the White House.
A group of property managers and realtors lodged objections in a Washington federal court to the new moratorium late Wednesday. The same plaintiffs, supported by the National Association of Realtors, challenged the previous moratorium, alleging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked legal authority to issue it.
Rather than file a fresh lawsuit challenging the new moratorium, the plaintiffs submitted an emergency motion in their previously filed case, asking a judge to apply a ruling against the last eviction ban to the new CDC effort.
Case To Be Quickly Heard
Rather than file a new lawsuit, the Alabama Association of Realtors and its Georgia counterpart argued the CDC's order is essentially an extension of the previous moratorium.
That was a smart move given the clear instructions by Justice Kavanaugh.
In response, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich Indicates She'll Move Quickly to Consider Case.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has until Friday morning to submit a response to the motion filed by landlords seeking to block the latest eviction moratorium, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered on Thursday. The landlords then have until 9 p.m. ET on Friday to file their response.
White House Briefing on Constitutional Question
On Tuesday, in announcing the new moratorium by the CDC, President Biden said legal experts he had consulted were of mixed opinion but the “bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.”
Please consider this August 2, 2021 White House Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki and White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the President Gene Sperling (emphasis mine).
PSAKI: The President has long fought for an eviction moratorium. He actually proposed extending the eviction moratorium until September 30th when he came into office, and I believe that was not possible due to reconciliation rules.
To date, the CDC Director and her team have been unable to find legal authority, even for a more targeted eviction moratorium that would focus just on counties with higher rates of COVID spread.
On January 19th, the Trump administration left by putting in place a completely unworkable, high-documented — high documentation guidelines that would have never worked. So, immediately, Treasury cleared up those guidelines and got the remaining funds out.
He also is calling on utilities and landlords to use the funds that Congress has made available to them — the emergency eviction funds, but also other funds in water and heating that they can use before they move to evict.
MR. SPERLING: Well, I would say that on this particular issue, the President has not only kicked the tires; he has double, triple, quadruple checked. He has asked the CDC to look at whether you could even do targeted eviction moratorium — that just went to the counties that have higher rates — and they, as well, have been unable to find the legal authority for even new, targeted eviction moratoriums.
An Amazing Success Story
Psaki argued that the Treasury cleared up the unworkable procedures of the Trump administration on January 19 and they "cleared up those guidelines and got the remaining funds out."
The Biden effort was so successful that as of the end of June, an amazing $3.0 billion of an allocated $46.5 billion in rent assistance funds was distributed.
If that's not success, what is?
Hooray for Blue Leadership!
Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers
"Democrats should stop refusing to work in a bipartisan way so help gets to renters in the most need and landlords don’t lose their livelihoods."
Constitution Be Damned
Meanwhile, the constitution be damned, "the President has not only kicked the tires; he has double, triple, quadruple checked" the legalities but Biden went ahead anyway.
Many of those who were against every Trump executive order they did not like were suddenly urging Biden to take a unilateral.
The key difference this time is the court already ruled against the move Biden took!
Where's the Progressive objection? There is none.
Hiding Behind Reconciliation
Psaki mentioned the resolution process. Yep, it true there was no Republican support. And a direct moratorium ruling is not a budget item which means Democrats could not do it alone by the resolution process.
But many Blue Dog Democrats did not support an extension. If they did, a bill would have cleared the House even if to die in the Senate.
That makes Psaki's resolution comments more than a bit disingenuous.
Finally, it would have been easy enough to turn eviction into a budget item simply by mandating better procedures for direct payment to landlords. That could have easily passed under resolution.
Democrats failed to do anything responsible about evictions because they had other priorities.
Q: What Priorities?
A: AOC Goes After Senator Krysten Sinema With a "No Climate, No Deal" Threat
New York State Has Spent $0 to Halt Evictions
In More on the Eviction Crisis, Bad Ideas in Congress I went over the distribution numbers.
"Some 49—including New York state and major metropolitan areas—had not spent anything" according to the Washington Post.
Evictions Start With Nancy Pelosi and the House on a 7-Week Break
Every step of the way the Democrats ignored warnings to get to the crisis point we are at now.
And here we are: Evictions Start With Nancy Pelosi and the House on a 7-Week Break.
12,712,935 people in 4,859,440 households fear eviction. Those numbers are hugely understated. (See above link for charts and details).
States certainly did nothing to help, led by New York.
However, the 2 people most to blame for where we are today are none other than President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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