WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court said Friday that a pause in evictions designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus could remain in place for now, setting up a fight before the nation’s highest court.
A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia this month rejected a bid by Alabama and Georgia landlords to block an eviction moratorium reinstated by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Patrick Newton, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, said landlords plan to immediately file an emergency motion in the Supreme Court.
“With the Supreme Court majority requiring Congressional authorization for any further expansion of this agreement, we are confident and hopeful of a speedy resolution,” he said in an emailed statement.
In a brief written decision, the panel said a similar bid was rejected by an appeals court and a lower court had also refused to overturn the stay.
“In view of that judgment and on record before us, we likewise set aside the emergency motion made to this court,” the judges said in their judgment.
High Court’s decision
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in June to allow the adjournment to continue until the end of July. But Justice Brett Kavanaugh — who joined the majority — warned the administration not to take further action without explicit Congressional approval.
The Biden administration on July 31 allowed the earlier moratorium to end, saying it had no legal authority to allow it to continue. But the CDC issued a new moratorium days later, after pressure from lawmakers and others to help vulnerable renters stay in their homes as the delta version of the coronavirus escalated. The moratorium is set to end on October 3.
According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey, as of August 2, nearly 3.5 million people in the United States said they faced eviction in the next two months.
The new moratorium temporarily halted evacuations in counties with “substantial and high levels” of transmission of the virus and will cover areas where 90% of the US population lives.
The Trump administration initially imposed nationwide evictions last year out of fear that those who could not pay their rent would end up in overcrowded conditions like homeless shelters and help spread the virus.
President Joe Biden acknowledged there were questions about the legality of the new removal freeze. But he said the court battle over the new order would give time for the distribution of some of the more than $45 billion in rental aid that has been approved but not yet used.
Urging the appeals court to impose the ban, the Biden administration noted that the new adjournment was more targeted than the nationwide ban, and that the landscape had changed since the Supreme Court ruling due to the spread of the highly contagious virus. Delta version.
The landlords accused Biden’s administration of exerting political pressure and reinstating the moratorium, even though it knew it was illegal.
“As acknowledged by the president himself, CDC’s latest extension is little more than a delay strategy designed to buy time to distribute rental assistance,” his lawyers wrote in the court documents.
A lower court judge ruled earlier this month that the freeze was illegal, but rejected the landlord’s request to lift the moratorium, saying it had its hands on the last time courts considered an eviction moratorium in the spring. bound by the appellate decision.