While increased vaccination availability has provided some light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the coronavirus, there are millions of Americans who are still dealing with the financial ramifications of the pandemic. In a move set to impact some of the most vulnerable in our country, a federal judge has ruled that the CDC overstepped its legal authority when it issued its moratorium on evictions at the start of the pandemic.
According to the Washington Post, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich issued a 20-page order on Wednesday that states the CDC didn’t have the legal authority to issue a moratorium on evictions. President Joe Biden recently extended the moratorium to last until June, though it’s clear that’s not the case any longer.
“It is the role of the political branches, and not the courts, to assess the merits of policy measures designed to combat the spread of disease, even during a global pandemic,” the order stated. “The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not.”
Black and Latino people were disproportionately affected by job losses incurred by the pandemic, which means it’s not terribly surprising that we’re also disproportionately affected by potential evictions.
According to CNBC, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice has said the agency intends to appeal the decision and will seek for the moratorium to stay in place as the case is argued. White House spokesperson Jen Psaki has recently touted the necessity and effectiveness of the moratorium.
“A recent study estimates that there were 1.55 million fewer evictions filed during 2020 than would be expected due to the eviction moratorium, so it clearly has had a huge benefit,” Psaki said.
Landlords have consistently battled against the moratorium ever since it was issued because sure we’re in a public health crisis, but dammit, capitalism has got to come first, folks. I completely acknowledge that this is a messy, complicated issue, but throwing millions of people out on the street right as we’re finally beginning to turn a corner on the pandemic doesn’t seem like the right solution.