Trump-Appointed Judge Strikes Down Federal Eviction Moratorium
A Washington DC judge has struck down the federal government’s moratorium on evictions. In a 20-page ruling on Wednesday, United States District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich said that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention lacks the authority to stop evictions.
The stay was first put in place by former President Donald Trump last year. President Joe Biden extended it in March.
“The Court recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious public health crisis that has presented unprecedented challenges for public health officials and the nation as a whole. The pandemic has triggered difficult policy decisions that have had enormous real-world consequences. The nationwide eviction moratorium is one such decision,” Friedrich, who was appointed by Trump, said in her decision.
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,” she continued. “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.”
Friedrich also said that the plaintiffs – a coalition of landlords and property management firms – have experienced “injury” as a consequence of the ban, because it gave tenants a reason to avoid paying rent.
“Since the CDC Order went into effect, the three real estate management company plaintiffs have each had tenants who have stopped paying rent, invoked the protections of the eviction moratorium, and would be subject to eviction but for the CDC Order,” Friedrich opined. “At a minimum, these three plaintiffs have established a concrete injury that is traceable to the CDC Order and is redressable by a decision vacating the CDC Order.”
This leaves a big question mark on the fates of millions of residential and commercial tenants who are facing billions of dollars in rental arrears due financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more here via CNN. This is developing story.