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Supreme Court Strikes Down Biden Eviction Moratorium

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The Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C., August 5, 2021 (Brent Buterbaugh/National Review)

The Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium in a 6-3 decision on Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the moratorium earlier this month to cover counties with “high” or “substantial” coronavirus spread, which as of Wednesday included the vast majority of counties in the U.S. The order was issued after a previous nationwide moratorium instituted during the Trump administration expired on July 31.

“It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken. But that has not happened,” the Court majority wrote in an unsigned opinion.

The majority held that the statute the CDC cited when implementing the moratorium, section 361(a) of the Public Health Service Act, does not grant the CDC authority to halt evictions.

“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,” the opinion continued. “It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.”

Justice Stephen Breyer argued in a dissent that “it is far from ‘demonstrably’ clear that the CDC lacks the power to issue its modified moratorium order.” Breyer’s dissent was signed by fellow liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

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