President Biden Says The Quiet Part Out Loud About The Eviction Moratorium: "I Hope" The Litigation Takes "Longer" Than A "Month"

The Aloof Executive: I "contacted a number of constitutional scholars I've relied on for years, beyond my own team, and there was a split."


Thursday afternoon, President Biden answered a reporter's question about the revised eviction moratorium. His answer sheds even more light of how the executive branch has outsourced its constitutional judgment to law professors.

First, Biden explains that he talked to several constitutional scholars. The Washington Post had only reported that Biden spoke to Laurence Tribe.

Q    How is the eviction moratorium constitutional, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think it is.  But there's a call — there are a number of constitutional scholars — I spoke to a lot of constitutional scholars.  Let me explain the last — the last time why I did what I did. . . .  The Court ruled by — and made it very clear — the Supreme Court said, "You can't do that.  You don't have the authority to do that."  And — although it was a 5-to-4 decision.  I got on the phone and contacted a number of constitutional scholars I've relied on for years, beyond my own team, and there was a split.  And the consensus of the folks that I have used the most said, "We think it is — you have the authority to do it, but, in this court, who knows."

What a remarkable statement. There was a split among the people he has "relied on for years." Yes, dyed-in-the-wool progressive law professors told Biden to stop. Others said to go. But who did Biden listen to? "The folks that I have used the most." Biden still refuses to take ownership of this decision. He is preemptively pinning the blame for defeat on unnamed law professors.

Second, Biden repeats that he would not tell DOJ and CDC what to do:

Last point I'll make: So, what I decided to do, I did not tell the CDC.  I made a commitment to you all I would not tell the CDC what they should do, and I would not tell the Justice Department who they should prosecute.  And I've kept that commitment.

Who the hell is running the executive branch? This argument turns the separation of powers upside down. I can understand why Biden would not interfere with DOJ to preserve prosecutorial independence. And, it makes sense for Biden not to mess with the CDC's apparent health expertise. But it is a dereliction of duty for the President to shirk the responsibility of whether his subordinates are acting lawfully. He has an obligation, always, to take care they they are faithfully executing the laws. He can't pass that buck. We've moved from the unitary executive to the solitary executive to the aloof executive. The buck stops with the Surgeon General, apparently.

Third, Biden tries to explain--meekly--why the new moratorium is different from the old moratorium:

So I asked the CDC to go back and take another look at was there anything possible and check with the legal scholars as well. . . . They went back and they concluded that if we had a completely different (inaudible) — we did not try to continue the existing moratorium; it was a different moratorium with another rationale.  The rationale was that because of the COVID spread of the virus so rapidly, that — and the Delta COVID — what happened was they said: All those — all those counties that, in fact, are in a situation where they are in that red zone, that they — we should hold for another month — or I think they said two months — the ability to evict people from those facilities.  And I said, "Okay, thank you."

Yes, we got it. "Okay, thank you." Delta is spreading, and the new order is limited to 90% of the country. I understand the argument in the abstract. This order is, at least on paper, more closely tied to the Surgeon General's delegated authority to limit the spread of disease. But as a practical matter, it is indistinguishable from the old order. The real reason for this order is to bide time.

Fourth, Biden says the quiet part out loud. He explains the primary purpose of this order is to buy time while the states distribute the money--hopefully longer than a month.

My greatest concern is — I have three concerns.  One, we have $45 billion sitting in the state treasuries right now that were designed specifically to help landlords be able to not have to go bankrupt so that they — and keep those renters who couldn't afford to pay their rent because of the pandemic, because of unemployment being as bad as it was since the Great Depression.

We gave it to the states and localities to be able to keep renters in their homes, as well as — as well as being able to continue to keep their business going. And I went ahead and did it, but here's the deal: I can't guarantee you the Court won't rule if we don't have that authority, but at least we'll have the ability, if we have to appeal, to keep this going for a month at least — I hope longer than that.  And in the process, by that time, we'll get a lot of (inaudible).

He said it! He wants the appeal to drag out as long as possible--a month, maybe longer. Best case scenario is to drag it out so long, the order simply expires. Even if government ultimately lose, it won't matter because the money will be distributed out.

Fifth, he offers a snide attack at "this Court."

And the consensus of the folks that I have used the most said, "We think it is — you have the authority to do it, but, in this court, who knows."

No, he didn't refer to "Obama judges"or "Trump judges." But the phrase "this Court" is a clear reference to the Court's conservative bent. He's talking about one Trump judge in particular.

Now, all eyes turn to Justice Kavanaugh. The Wall Street Journal editorial board is not holding back. They wrote about DOJ's latest defense of the eviction moratorium:

The Justice Department's real position is that legal technicalities require the judiciary to make a chump out of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. . .  . If the judiciary doesn't want to find itself getting jerked around like this, then it shouldn't give Mr. Biden what he wants. Meantime, Justice Kavanaugh ought to conclude that judicial forbearance is a fool's errand.

Chump. Fool. Jerked around. And you thought I was tough on BK?!

The President is daring the Court to drag out this process. If there are five votes to enjoin the policy, the majority should issue the order right away, with an opinion to come at some future date. Or, even better, start writing the opinion now, there's no reason to wait. That advice goes for Justice Kagan as well. The dissent writes itself. And the Chief can slap together a one-paragraph dissent about irreparable harm in 30 minutes.

NEXT: Resist the Anti-Vaxxers: Approve Vaccines for Kids 5-11

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  1. Hmm. And all this time—well, since Trump v. Hawaii, at least—I thought that the President's comments were irrelevant to the Court's decision. And what authority would the Supreme Court have to sua sponte enjoin the moratorium? As usual, this is just Josh being a hack without any real thought to the actual law—procedural or substantive.

    1. 4/9 of the court already said it was unconstitutional, and another 1/9 basically said it was basically unconstitutional but he'd allow it until its prescribed expiration date. Its now been extended beyond that expiration date meaning 5/9 of the court would find it unconstitutional based on current understood procedural law

      1. Cool story. How does the Court "issue the order right away," as Josh suggests?

        1. I could be wrong but I think there are moratorium appeals still pending from lower courts. SCOTUS would be able to take up and decide one of those pretty quickly

          And of course that has no bearing on the optics for Biden, who is literally saying "I know this is illegal, but I can get away with it long enough that I'm going to do it anyway"

          1. Those appeals are moot. The Biden administration has ended the previous moratorium and enacted a different moratorium with a different rationale. The courts don't get to just say "well, this is kind of like the other moratorium, so we'll consider this challenge to be the same thing."

            And Biden is literally not saying that. He's literally saying that the view that the moratorium is legal is a minority view, but it has proponents.

            1. The arguments that the CDC does not have the congressionally delegated authority to issue any kind of eviction moratorium are the same.

              1. As well as the argument that, even with such explicit authority, they couldn't do it without paying the rent themselves.

              2. That's not how litigation works. You can't just say "the arguments are the same, therefore treat my challenge to one expired policy as a challenge to any policy that's similar."

                1. On the other hand, if the other party tries to moot a lawsuit by using a mechanism that its chief executive admits is largely dilatory, and the effect of the new mechanism is unchanged, the lawsuit isn't really moot.

                  1. This goes back to my original point. How are you going to get Biden's alleged motivation for the new moratorium into the constitutional calculus? Do we just pretend that Biden's motives behind administration policy matter, while Trump's didn't?

                    1. The supposedly animus-revealing comments by Trump came before his election, to say nothing of that policy. These comments by Biden are effectively contemporaneous with this policy, and specifically refer to it.

                    2. That is a completely made-up distinction. Either the analysis is confined to the four corners of the EO or it isn't. You can't get around that by special pleading.

                    3. And that is a completely made-up argument....

                      I already quoted what the Supreme Court said about it, explaining that the analysis is not limited to the four corners of an EO. You just don't like that there are relevant differences in understanding the significance of the comments, starting with whether the speaker was the President.

                    4. The Court declined to find Trump's extrinsic comments relevant when they could have affected the legal standard in Trump v. Hawaii. Explain to me how a court would use Biden's comments when they have absolutely nothing to do with the legal standard.

                    5. What legal standard are you talking about? Biden's comments are directly about this specific policy action, and specifically discuss the change in his administration's policy compared to what he said was (il-)legal less than a week before. Trump's comments expressed a months-before-inauguration campaign promise.

      2. This is actually an interesting question about institutional roles within our separation of powers.

        On the one hand, we don't do advisory opinions, and this is *at best* an advisory opinion. Probably a lot less than that.

        On the other, the Court, the arbiter of constitutionality, has effectively weighed in with what they think, but intentionally without following the institutional method it's set up to do.

        Reasonable minds can differ. As a very strong institutionalist, I'd go with following the Court's non-order. But there are a number of very good arguments on the other side as well, and reasonable minds can absolutely differ on the issue.

        1. Reasonable minds really don’t differ here, though. Biden has explicitly admitted that he doesn’t have this authority. That’s why he hopes the litigation lasts a while - he knows he’s gonna lose.

          So we have a president wielding power he knows he doesn’t have doing harm to a basic right of a huge group of citizens and nobody, particularly the so called watchdogs in our shitty media or our congresspersons who have sworn to uphold the constitution, cares.

          We’re broken. There is no longer a rule of law. From now on we live by the rules of Calvinball. Good luck.

          1. The OP itself it shows that Biden's experts were split. And then Blackman does a lot of contortions to create the thesis you take for granted.

            Blackman is taking the 'I hope litigation takes a while' to imply Biden doesn't think he has the authority. Except
            1) the question of how the Court will rule and Biden's independent analysis of his authority is different. Blackman conflates them.
            2) Biden doesn't even say the Court will for sure rule against him, just that it's a risk he doesn't want to take for as long as possible.

            So we don't have a President wielding power he doesn't know he has, we just have Blackman creating that story out of his usual speculation and telepathy alongside cherry picked but still not probative quotes.

            So no need for the drama about the rule of law being dead. It isn't dead, just that some partisan hacks really want to stoke outrage that it is even as they continue to laude Trump's complete and open lawlessness.

            I continue to think this is bad process in service of bad policy, but as usual a certain bloviating segment of the right wants to overplay their hand to encourage partisan nihilism in their bas. Blackman is one of these - don't be taken in.

            1. I don’t want to be a bloviator of the right but Biden’s original answer was explicit - “no because I don’t have the authority”. I don’t care that he caved to pressure from Congress and the media and found some lawyers that would prostitute their opinions to serve the cause. That doesn’t lend credibility to that opinion. The Supreme Court essentially said no, but in calvinball we can ignore them.

              I mean, Trump found some lawyers that would argue he was cheated out of the election by massive fraud. Does the fact that he found someone to make the argument give it validity to you?

              This is an unconstitutional taking without reimbursement in defiance of the Supreme Court. If Trump deserved impeachment then Biden certainly does.

              1. So you're not going by the OP. That's good. But why can't Biden change his mind in good faith? Certainly he has the incentive to be convinced!

                As I said above, I think he should allow himself to be trumped by the Supreme Court's non-opinion, but I don't think we need to go so far as Biden is lying and knows it.

                1. It's not even really Biden changing his mind, unless you read his original comments to mean that he didn't believe he had the authority to institute *any* eviction moratorium. This is a new moratorium, with a new (albeit similar) claim of legal authority.

                  1. That's one of the issues I have, though - it seems like gamesmanship to make these marginal changes that don't seem like they'd get to the core of the constitutional issue.

                    Formally, legit.

                    But I'm not a formalist, and this seems like abuse of process to me.

                    1. I agree that it's probably too clever by half, but there's at least a colorable argument for the legality of this moratorium vis-a-vis the expired one. My point is that I don't think it makes sense to apply Biden's previous comments about his assessment of the legality of the previous moratorium to the new moratorium, as Josh wants to do.

                    2. Oh yeah, totally a colorable argument.

                      That's why even as I don't like the policy, and don't like the process used here, I find the arguments that things are clear, Biden lied, rule of law is dead, to be ridiculous.

                      And Blackman's post is still top 10% in silliness even with such comments.

                    3. Oh yeah, totally a colorable argument.

                      What's the color? This isn't a situation where the courts said the first policy failed strict scrutiny because it wasn't narrowly tailored, and then Biden came back with one that was more narrowly tailored.

                      This is one where the courts said that the statutory authority for a moratorium doesn't exist. A (slightly) smaller moratorium is still a moratorium.

                    4. 1) It's dicta; advisory at best.
                      2) The executive making an independent finding of constitutionality is not unusual, when the Court has yet spoken. And it has not yet spoken.

                      A formalist argument, to be sure, and one I disagree with. But more than colorable.

                  2. How is the claim of legal authority any different than before? It still seems to rely on the same statutory section. As far as I can tell, the only real distinction is that it is fractionally narrower (applying to some 86% of US counties, and a much larger fraction of the population) in scope and this is supposed to cure some defect in the earlier version.

                2. But why can’t Biden change his mind in good faith

                  Changing the rhetorical cover story in response to pressure is not in good faith.

                  Hehe, "Tell them...tell them you've changed your mind in good faith."

                  Sounds like something from House of Cards, or Citizen Kane near the end.

              2. Trump found some lawyers that would argue he was cheated out of the election by massive fraud.

                I'm not appealing to the authority of the experts, I'm just saying the legal question is not settled. The contours of overdelegation is very much up in the air.
                Unlike the question of fact about the election.

                And it's even OK to think the question is settled and you have the answer!
                What's dumb is saying Biden secretly agrees with your take and is lying about it.

                1. "I’m just saying the legal question is not settled."

                  Sure, in the trivial sense that the Supreme Court didn't issue the ruling, thinking that the policy was about to end. And the barely less trivial sense that anything someone somewhere is willing to disagree about is 'controversial'.

                  But the truth is, not in any more meaningful sense. The rule of law is dying in America, and this is just the latest sign of that.

                  1. Brett, you are generally a strong formalist. You've discarded it here to appeal to function.

                    This is not an argument you would generally continence. And now you're claiming it's the only argument.

                    I agree with the argument, but 1) it is close, and 2) you're out of character for pretty nakedly outcome-oriented reasons.

                2. I’m saying he’s lying about it. He’s been surprisingly candid for someone who is breaking the law. Because he knows there will be no consequence. The king has no need to lie.

                  The legal question is absolutely settled. The SC did that.

                  He essentially gets to buy political popularity with the landlord’s money with no risk. Sucks for those guys but at least their kids don’t need to eat. Oh, wait….

                  1. The legal question is absolutely settled. The SC did that.

                    No, it isn't. Functionally, perhaps (that's my position). But not formally no, and more importantly the result is not evident based on current precedent.

                    If you're a functionalist legal realist, this is your day. But don't pretend that's what Biden is.

                    But you're doing an awful lot of mind reading here.

            2. "So no need for the drama about the rule of law being dead."

              S_0 .
              I see the the mantra as simply being a continuation of the chant we've heard for 4.5 years. What's different are the politics of the chanters. Nothing much more.

              1. I don't think this behavior parallels Trump, no.

                Trump didn't believe in institutions. Biden very much does.

                1. I don’t see how you can say the Biden believes in institutions. Not today. Not anymore.

                  He may say he does but when the rubber meets the road he absolutely does not.

                  As bad as trump was this action is more impeachable than anything trump ever did.

                  What will he do next? What if he decides that the pandemic is so bad that he needs to suspend habeus corpus and round up the unvaccinated into camps? What if he decides that his precious drug war is so important that he decides to suspend the 4th amendment?

                  What’s gonna stop him?

                  1. As a Fed, with friends who are Feds, I can tell you he sure does. Lots of new pain in the ass hoops to jump through that save lots of taxpayer money but slow things down.

                    You're getting circular - Biden's motives are that he doesn't believe in institutions, which proves that he doesn't believe in institutions, which shows what his motives are etc. etc.

                    Of course anything is impeachable, but this is in no way clearly illegal. mse326, who also thinks this is bad policy, has made a clearer case than I on what Biden did and how it's pretty normal.

                  2. As bad as trump was this action is more impeachable than anything trump ever did.

                    Playing hardball politics to achieve a policy end within the formal rules is more impeachable than trying to steal an election by 1) pressuring a foreign power to open a faux investigation into your opponent or 2) perpetuating the big lie you didn't lose? No. Not even close and quite the opposite.

                    1. Ignoring the fucking Supreme Court is a big fuckin’ deal.

                      Right now there is no separation of powers. The SC is generally competent but ignored. The legislature is barely there.

                      Biden does what he wants and nobody stops him. No constraints at all. He might as well be a king.

                    2. Ignoring a binding order from Supreme Court is a BFD. Ignoring a likely advisory opinion is not.

                    3. That wasn’t an advisory opinion. It was 4 “you can’t do this” and one “you can’t do this but I’m gonna be nice about it and let it expire on its own”

                      Where the hell is the advice part.

                      The difference between me and you is that I don’t want a king. You’re fine with it as long as you think the king agrees with you.

                      The “policy end” you refer to is taking away the property rights of Americans. If it were your property you’d throw a fit, but fuck those other guys, right? Those of us who aren’t you don’t deserve the rights you expect for themselves.

                    4. bevis, here is the only binding text of Alabama Association of Realtors, et al. v. DHS, et al.:

                      The application to vacate stay presented to THE CHIEF
                      JUSTICE and by him referred to the Court is denied.

                      Anything else is dicta. The notion of "violating" a concurrence is ridiculous on its face.

                    5. Article III requires an actual case, not a hypothetical one. And since Kavanaugh addressed a hypothetical case, his concurrence is advisory and doesn't retroactively become binding when the hypothetical occurs.

                2. Sarcastro, let’s grant that somehow this politically generated opinion by Trine is accurate (which is ridiculous, Tribe is no more to be taken seriously than Guliani) and that what he’s doing is fine. It isn’t, but grant that it is.

                  He’s still violating the constitution even in that instance. He’s taking people’s property without any prospect that they’ll ever get paid. The takings clause and all that.

                  But let’s split legal hairs over the placement of commas while tens of millions of Americans have their property confiscated. The commas are the real issue here.

                  1. I don't know the takings clause jurisprudence here, but I suspect there's a reason the litigation is going the nondelegation rout - the takings clause is never cut-and-dried as it seems.

                    I think it's bad economics, and abuse of process. I know about those.
                    I don't know enough to decide where I stand on nondelegation or takings clause grounds. Especially as both those grounds seem to be shifting these days.

                    But even if I think it's bad policy, I'm not going to make things up to get to where it's a rogue President disobeying the Supreme Court.

          2. "We’re broken. There is no longer a rule of law. From now on we live by the rules of Calvinball. Good luck."

            That sounds like bad news for the side -- steeped in ignorance, bigotry, superstition, and backwardness -- that is losing the culture war and constitutes the dwindling, downscale, backwater minority in America.

          3. " That’s why he hopes the litigation lasts a while – he knows he’s gonna lose. "

            Or perhaps he is optimistic about what might be decided by a thirteen-justice Supreme Court. Or even a court staring at a growing movement toward enlargement.

            1. Go fuck yourself, you fairy.

        2. The President has taken an oath to "faithfully" execute the laws. Not to try to get away with whatever unconditional stuff he can for as long as he can.

          It's not a close call.

          1. Ben, begging the question and then doubling down isn't an argument. It's just signifying your tribal bona fides on the Internet.

            Insisting that not only are you right, but that it's not close so anyone disagreeing with you is either lying or dumb is a tell you haven't really engaged intellectually beyond taking the side of your tribe.

            1. That's a lot of mumbo-jumbo. Bad faith is pretty clear in this case.

              1. Merely declaring Biden is wrong, and it's not a close question is basically saying 'I am conservative, but don't like to think.'

                I'm mocking you for that.

                1. If you’re not willing to be persuaded to become a big fan of dishonesty and theft, Sarcastr0 will label you and say you "don’t like to think".

                2. It's not a close question. This policy is no different than if the CDC had announced that going out to get groceries spread Covid, and declared that grub hub couldn't refuse to make food deliveries to people who stiffed them.

                  The government isn't constitutionally entitled to pull this sort of crap.

                  1. That's an awful analogy. One clue is you compare a type of person to a particular business.

                    Besides, you're appealing to bad policy as though that's a constitutional question.

                    In reality, you don't know the law on overdelegation (no one does) but really want it to agree with you. Hence, not a close question.

                    1. This is an uncompensated taking case. Nondelegation is a side issue.

                    2. I though the main theory of law at issue was nondelegation.

                      But takings doesn't get you anywhere better. It's also an area of current legal ferment, and thus unclear contours.

                      I know you're sure everyone secretly agrees with you on what the law is, but not even the conservatives on the Court seem to be clear.

                3. It looks a lot more like you're mocking yourself for defending someone who says in essence "our most qualified experts, and most of the others, agree that this is unconstitutional -- but after people whined at us, we found this guy who said this excuse might be good enough, so we're going to pretend we can do it until courts officially tell us that we violated our oaths of office".

                  1. I'm not appealing to the experts. As I said.

                    You seem to be, though.

                    1. Biden is the one who is appealing to experts in this case. You are merely defending his actions.

                    2. Is he, though? He's saying the experts are split. Which seems to indicate he's acknowledging there was a call for him to make and he made it.

                      Wrong call, but not the naked power grab a lot on here seem to be wishing for.

                    3. Yes, he is. He originally relied on experts who told him that he couldn't do what he wanted. When Pelosi et al. heard, they threw a fit and told him to try again with less-qualified experts. So he did, and now he's hiding behind the split in opinions to justify an unconstitutional policy.

                    4. He originally relied on experts who told him that he couldn’t do what he wanted.

                      That's not what happened. mse326 really takes you to town on that narrative.


                    5. You have a hilariously mistaken idea of taking someone to town. mse326 totally ignores that Biden recognized that this moratorium was unconstitutional before, and is pretending It is now substantively different in spite of ordering the same thing with respect to almost all of the country, for the same underlying reason, with the same alleged authority. The number of people for whom it is at all different is decreasing by the day.

                    6. Please stop saying unconstitutional. It's not unconstitutional.

                    7. It's unconstitutional on several independent bases. Please stop claiming it is constitutional.

                    8. The point DMN is making is that the Supreme Court hasn't said *anything* about constitutionality - the dicta at issue here is regarding the enabling statute.

                      You can have an opinion about the constitutionality of this action, but the Supreme Court has not.

                    9. That's just this side of claiming that murder isn't illegal until a judge says so in a particular case.

      3. 0/9 of the court said it was unconstitutional, and the 1/9 that you are referring to said exactly the opposite.

    2. How many of you could actually win fist fight? Would love to know. Most lawyers are fat and weak. Lawmakers wear plastic bags over heads and cower while 80 yr old grandmas take pictures in room next door. Pathetic. This is why American empire is in decline. War is coming for everyone.

      1. Why would I get into a fist fight? If I am attacked and in fear of death or grievous bodily injury, the Glock would keep me from having to nurse my bloody knuckles.

        1. The loneliness of a guy auditioning for 'the one remaining right-winger who claims to care about science.'

    3. Trump v. Hawaii: "But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself."

      Well at least the "neutral on its face" part is common to the two cases. Who was it that said "one out of three ain't bad"?

    4. In Trump v Hawaii the claim was that the action was unconstitutional because of the comments. This claim was an attempt by a court to, in part, overturn the results of the 2016 election and seize presidential power.

      In this case justices already said it’s unconstitutional regardless of any words spoken by anyone. The comments by Biden are merely an acknowledgment that Biden doesn’t is lawless.

      1. More to the point, the plaintiffs there claimed that the statements revealed an animus that made the facially neutral policy and process actually a pretense for illegal discrimination.

        In this case, as you point out, the comments show that the president knows that the argument in defense of the moratorium is just a fig leaf.

      2. The Court absolutely did NOT say it's unconstitutional. In fact, five justices declined to find it unconstitutional. Your argument that Biden is "lawless" rests on a complete misunderstanding.

        1. No it doesn’t. The idea that anything goes until courts specifically rule against it is unprincipled and nihilistic.

          1. My argument is not that "anything goes until courts specifically rule against it." My argument is that the Court did not hold that the moratorium was unconstitutional, which you explicitly said above. You can't transform a decision upholding it into a decision striking it down, no matter what significance you give to Kavanaugh's concurrence.

            1. They "said" it was unconstitutional. I never claimed anything beyond that.

              1. Something a court "says" but doesn't hold is called dicta, and it's not binding on anyone. It's not *law*, so not following it is definitionally not lawless.

                1. The eviction moratorium is unconstitutional. It’s unconstitutional now. It doesn’t become unconstitutional when the court makes a ruling. Court rulings describe reality, they don’t create it.

                  The constitution is the law. Biden’s actions are unconstitutional and therefore contrary to law (and hence "lawless") right now. The court will make this clear soon.

                  1. That's just, like, your opinion, man. Reasonable minds differ all the time on whether something is constitutional
                    It's not "lawless" to adopt a policy that *you* think is unlawful.

                    1. In what way does a reasonable mind conclude that this is not a taking? In what way does a reasonable mind conclude that a taking is consistent with the fifth amendment? TIA.

                    2. Biden doesn’t think it’s lawful either.

                    3. You're even further afield if you're arguing it's settled law that this is a taking. That's never been litigated at all. The only cases that that *have* been litigated concern whether the moratorium is consistent with statutory authority.

                      You seem to think that the moratorium means that tenants don't owe rent to their landlords. That's not accurate. Landlords are perfectly able to try to collect back rent or recover it through the rental assistance passed by Congress. The moratorium displaces the landlords' rights to evict their tenants. Is that a "taking" in violation of the Fifth Amendment? That's way less clear than you're making it out to be.

                    4. In what way does a reasonable mind conclude that this is not a taking? In what way does a reasonable mind conclude that a taking is consistent with the fifth amendment? TIA.

                      Takings are consistent with the fifth amendment. If it's a taking — something which has not been decided by the courts — then all that means is that compensation is required. Not that the moratorium can't stay in effect.

        2. The Court absolutely did NOT say it’s unconstitutional. In fact, five justices declined to find it unconstitutional. Your argument that Biden is “lawless” rests on a complete misunderstanding.

          No, nine justices declined to find it unconstitutional. This was not a constitutional case.

          1. Well, we don't really know the dissenters' rationale(s).

      3. "In this case justices already said it’s unconstitutional regardless of any words spoken by anyone."

        If the declaration of unconstitutionality was not effected by words of the justices, how did it occur? Did Jesus Lord Of The Bible whisper it directly into known truth?

  2. How is announcing that he's following one set of his consultants rather than another, "failing to take ownership"? He IS taking ownership.

    What Josh doesn't like is he's telegraphing his plan: if the Court stops him and lets the evictions begin, he's gonna campaign on their decision.

    He does have a problem, though: sooner or later the ban will have to be lifted and the tenants will have to pay their back rent or get evicted. And it will have to happen before the landlords start going bankrupt. And when it happens, we'll likely see a big wave of new homelessness, and the people will be very very very very angry.

    1. They should be very, very angry with the person who shut down their employer and caused them to lose their job. Public health officials and local and state authorities should be very ashamed of what they’ve done to people in order to optimize case numbers on spreadsheets.

    2. Toad,
      It is the tenants who will be declaring bankruptcy first. Then some landlord will also declare. As they all walk away from all their accumulated debt, we will see a economic ripple far larger than the $150B of lost rent.
      People are going to be angry no matter what

  3. Soaking landlords for upwards of almost two years of non-payment of rent is going to have devastating effects for the rental market for years to come.

    Like almost everything, this is going to be paid for by chumps who work, make a regular paycheck, and contribute to the tax base. Landlords are going to make up the loss by raising rents over the next few years above what the market would have increased it. And the inventory of rentals is going to start getting tight as more and more private landlords just sell getting out of the business completely.

    Around me I would say 50% of the houses on the market are current or former rentals. They are being bought up by urbanites who are going to be owner-occupants not looking to continue it as a rental in the future. Younger people I work with that rent (and presumably pay their rent) said they are getting non-renewal notices with landlords remarking they are going to keep the properties vacant for the time being (probably contemplating sale or renovations is my guess). One guy was saying he found another place but the rent was 25% higher and it is farther out of town in a less desirable area. Some others are just giving up on the concept that a 20-something should be able to live independently and are moving back in with their parents.

    Having one or two rental properties used to be a great investment. The rent would cover the mortgage and maintenance while providing for maybe a little extra income. You can capitalize the value in the property and diversify your retirement portfolio. Now though only an idiot would get into the private rental market. What do you think the government is going to do next time there is the slightest "emergency" going around? I wouldn't be surprised if "eviction moratoriums" become standard public policy in the future especially in states that don't respect property rights.

    I'll be fine I own and got out of the rental biz years ago when housing prices went up in my area. I feel bad for the younger generation though that is going to get completely hosed by all of this. Don't think it is a far cry to say they will probably never know home ownership and might not even be able to live independently until their 30's at this rate.

    1. "Landlords are going to make up the loss by raising rents over the next few years above what the market would have increased it."

      Out of what? Spite? In response to what exogenous increase in demand?
      Did you skip the 'economics of the firm' parts in college?

      1. How do you think those landlords are going to make up for the loss? Do you realize rent for most private landlords in going to the expenses for the property, mortgage and maintenance. They can't take that loss in terms of just deferring or foregoing "profit" revenue. They are sucking them up either by dipping into savings, operational reserves, or just deferring expenses like maintenance. That works for awhile, but there comes a time when things need to be fixed or you need to rebuild that operational reserve. How is that going to happen? Increased prices. You don't pay for it now of course, you just pay for it in the future. And the people who pay for stuff like this are the middle class chumps who makes a paycheck and are honest on their taxes.

    2. I hear some landlords are demanding 4-8 months rent in advance now.

        1. I do, in fact, hear that.

          If I were a landlord I would make a similar demand. It's reasonable given the situation now and anyone who can pay six months up front will probably be a really good tenant. It would be a good way to avoid problem renters.

          1. That's not generally legal beyond first and last months.

            If there's some state that an exception, it's also a really dumb way to mitigate the risk - by pricing the vast majority of people out of your market, you assure yourself of no income rather than merely risk it.

            Why are you lying?

            1. No citation, of course.

              When did you become such a complete asshole?

              1. Don't need a source for the fact that what you describe would price you out of the market. If you have that much rent money available, you're buying.

                But if you want to believe rando Florida twitter accounts, that's on you, chief.

                1. I neither believe nor disbelieve it. It’s something people are saying though.

                  If I were a landlord I might be happy to be out of the market for a while. Tenants who don’t pay rent and can’t be evicted are a lot worse than a temporary vacancy.

                  1. People are saying. Weak.

                    Landlords do not like to be out of the market for a while. You act like every new tenant is going to not pay rent.

                    1. Leftists consistently fail to understand that people have options that don’t involve doing exactly what leftists have planned for everyone.

                    2. I've explained the market incentives here are very much against what you posted.

                      Rather than provide a counterargument, you're just retreating to partisan tantrums. As you do.

                    3. There are no market incentives in favor of "renting" to a tenant who pays no rent and can’t be evicted.

                      There are clear market incentives to avoid that situation.

                    4. You act like every new tenant is going to not pay rent.

          2. A couple of years ago, I needed to spent a couple of months in Portland, to clear out the storage unit I'd filled up after selling my old house. I walked into an apartment complex, offering to pay out a six-month lease in full before taking occupancy. Knowing that I wanted only those six months kept landlords from renting to me. The practice at the time was to offer an artificially-low rental rate for the initial lease, then rack the rent up once the tenant was committed to the place. I wound up couch-surfing and finishing my business in Portland in a little more than a month.

      1. It largely depends on the state and many do not regulate pre-payment of rent in landlord/tenant laws. Those that do usually keep it to a maximum of two months plus the same for security deposit, but it is going to vary widely among states and even cities.

        Around here you can legally charge 2 months of prepaid rent and a security to the same tune. That is effectively 4 months. Then the "trick" landlords are doing is front loading 12 months of rent into 10 by giving the last 2 months "free". So, all in all, that reduces any landlord risk to about 6 months worth of rent. Only problem is you need to have about $5,000 to write that LL a check before you move in. That is a big problem for most renters that have little to no savings.

        1. That is a big problem for most renters that have little to no savings.

          Well, then it would be a big problem for most landlords that have little to no tenants.

    3. Black Rock et al, are counting on taking over the rental market. That's entirely the point of this extension. Small Landlords squeezed out by the, oh so benevolent Wall Streeters. What, me worry?

    4. "more private landlords just sell getting out of the business completely."
      That is what we did even though it meant selling at an inopportune time.

      1. Sarcastr0 says you would have been fine and nothing bad would have happened to you.

        So therefore you didn’t decide to sell and you’re still renting your house, because arguing something makes it real for people like Sarcastr0.

        1. No - you didn't talk about selling, you talked about asking for 4-6 month's rent in advance.

          1. No one would ever make the choice to sell in non-ideal times because Sarcastr0 assures us that tenants pay (when it supports Sarcastr0's argument).

            1. Also not what I said.

    5. And the inventory of rentals is going to start getting tight as more and more private landlords just sell getting out of the business completely.

      If a landlord sells a rental property, do you think it disintegrates? Are they selling to termites?

      1. "If a landlord sells a rental property, do you think it disintegrates?"

        If a landlord sells a rental property to someone who doesn't want to be a landlord, from whom can it be rented?

        1. The buyer just likes collecting houses to look at them?

    6. "Soaking landlords for upwards of almost two years of non-payment of rent is going to have devastating effects for the rental market for years to come."

      Drop in the bucket next to what's ahead for commercial property. Businesses are learning that they don't need as much office space as they thought they did. Get ready for the bottom to fall out of the commercial real-estate market.

  4. Blackman is being very unprincipled here. He writes:

    "This order is, at least on paper, more closely tied to the Surgeon General's delegated authority to limit the spread of disease. But as a practical matter, it is indistinguishable from the old order."

    Yes, as Blackman concedes, the order is different. But because Blackman is MORE concerned about a particular practical manner, namely, the policy outcome (90% of the country covered versus 100%), Blackman dismisses that difference.

    The stated reason for the Supreme Court's decision when it ruled agains the eviction moratorium the first time around was rule-of-law concerns. Not policy outcomes.

    Last time I checked, conservatives claimed to be against focusing on policy outcomes. Or, as the Federalist Society puts it:

    "[I]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be."

    If that really is the philosophy that drives conservative legal scholars and judges, then they MUST take the difference in the orders seriously rather than merely pointing to the similarity in the outcome. Otherwise, conservative legal scholars are exactly what they have always accused those to the left of them of being. Namely, scholars and judges who want to control the judiciary and the interpretation of law in order to advance a particular ideological agenda rather than genuine rule of law concerns.

    Being consistent even when the outcome may not be what you prefer is the true test of character.

    1. The order is different without a distinction. The fundamentals are not different than the last one, and now there are clearer Fifth Amendment objections, because the Supreme Court has held that even temporary takings must be compensated.

  5. Comparing this to your post on McGirt, your devotion to the rule of law seems very contingent.

  6. Throwing polemical tantrums and warning about the wrath of “fIve justices” is so . . . quaint.

    Keep poking at the mainstream, clingers, and you may learn the lot of losers whose betters can count to seven. Standing athwart may seem like fun . . . until you get run over.

    1. OBL really does the satire better.

      1. You will be taught the meaning of the word ‘respect‘ . . . Barking like a dog will be optional.

        1. Brush your teeth with a shotgun.

          1. Open wider, clinger. Your betters are just getting started.

            And you will comply. As usual.

  7. And all the while, there's still $43 billion of the $46 billion Congress appropriated for rent relief, just sitting in the States, undistributed. Either the States are unable to organize a decent system, or the renters are unable or unwilling to go through the application process, or both.

    But sleeping on the Capital steps to demand a moratorium, and dashing in at the last minute to provide one, are much more dramatic, and make for better photo ops.

    1. Well, the funds are likely not enough - Unpaid back rent was estimated at $20 billion this time last year, and over $50 billion earlier this year.

      However, the big problem in using those funds seems to be that the renter has to agree to cooperate with the landlord in order to get the state to deliver those federal funds.
      And, surprise surprise, arrears renters are often unwilling to help their landlords.

      1. Toranth, the renters might be smart about that. There are landlords I have had who I would worry might take the federal money, and then sue me for the arrears anyway. Just give the federal money to the tenants, and let them pay the landlords. Or would it be unfair to place on landlords a burden of trust you advocate placing on tenants instead?

        1. The goal is to pay landlords, and if the government can't produce sufficient paperwork to document whose rent they are paying, they should probably just indemnify tenants who face that kind of lawsuit. There is no good reason to insert middlemen who are specifically known to not pay bills.

          1. Michael P, why would the policy goal be to pay landlords, and leave it at that? Without paying a nickel more, you could provide pandemic rent relief for tenants, AND pay landlords. It's a natural twofer. Do you oppose that?

            1. Do you claim that the policy goal is to force landlords to provide free leases instead? Or that the goal is for the government to directly provide housing for deadbeat tenants?

              The idea that government will not pay "a nickel more" by inserting known-unreliable middlemen is ridiculous. Why do you want extra middlemen, whose expenditure of this money would have to be checked and where the inevitable misspending would have to be addressed?

              1. Michael P, you do oppose that. Remarkable.

                1. Stephen Lathrop, look in the mirror. You are so opposed to respecting property and contract rights that you want the government to give money to deadbeats in the hope that they will pay the debts that the government wishes for them to pay, rather than just having the government pay those debts directly. That is the only remarkable thing here.

                  1. Michael P, nope. I am just not a gratuitously punitive asshole. The Obama administration made the same stupid mistake you demand now, when it bailed out the banks on bad mortgages, without taking advantage of the opportunity to do it via letting mortgage holders clear their bad debts. Same kind of situation, too—parties on both sides of deals that went bad, mostly because of factors outside the parties' control.

                    More generally, your insistence on calling renters who lost jobs in the pandemic, "deadbeats," explains a lot about the long-term miserable state of the economy for ordinary Americans. I suppose it's kind of a political necessity for right wingers to blame victims of happenstance, or victims of right wing economic policies, lest left wing politics propose economic fixes at the expense of the rich. What remains inexplicable is why that becomes so habitual that right wingers like you demand that ordinary Americans suffer even in cases where it would not add to government expense.

                    You hate it when there is government largesse, and it does not go only to the rich. For some reason, you like to see perfectly good people suffer economically, and it pleases you to call them, "deadbeats" when they do. I called that, "remarkable," but maybe I should have said, "peculiar."

                    What you want is very bad for the economy, and gratuitously bad for the nation. Recovery from the mortgage crisis would have been quicker and better had the Obama administration paid off the mortgage holders, and required them to pay off the banks, clearing both sets of books with the same money. Instead, the Obama administration left the mortgage holders to flounder, while the rich went on a spending spree with their government payoffs, snapping up real estate at distressed prices. Somebody like you must have been behind that policy.

                    When government does stuff like that over and over again, the nation sinks toward crisis. Rage gathers among ordinary citizens, who figure out from what happens to them that the system is rigged against them, even if they do not always follow closely enough to blame the folks who are actually screwing them—folks like you, for instance. We are seeing that happening now.

                    1. Oops, not, "mortgage holders," should have been, "borrowers."

                    2. who figure out from what happens to them that the system is rigged against them,

                      Not gifting irresponsible people with free houses is "rigging" the system against them?

                      I would think there would've been far more rage if the bulk of the populace, who had been responsible, and who had bought reasonable homes and taken out smaller mortgages that they could actually afford in order to do so, had then been forced to pay increased taxes so that the people who bought more extravagant homes could keep them.

                    3. Stop making things up so you can attack your opponents for imagined faults. You'll sound less like a deranged left-wing loon.

                    4. Nieporent, the nation gifted bankers who had been far more irresponsible than any of their borrowers. Also, policy makers had an opportunity to gift both irresponsible groups with the same money, but chose to gift only the bankers.

                      Emoting about taxpayers is pointless, because the decision to spend taxpayer money—and how much to spend—was already made. Everyone said the economy would go down the drain, as too many banks collapsed. So that put the taxpayers on the hook for the amount needed to bail out the banks.

                      After that, with the decision already made that irresponsible bankers had to get paid, regardless of moral hazard—for the alleged good of the nation—there was zero reason (except pure politics of envy) not to pay the bankers by giving the money first to insolvent borrowers, with appropriate strings attached to assure that they used it to pay off their bad debts at the bank, and thus bail out both groups at once with the same money. I think you get that.

                      So please explain to me why it was wise fiscal policy to leave insolvent borrowers in the lurch, to drag the economy down indefinitely, while hitting the taxpayers just as hard as if you had bailed out the borrowers, essentially for free. I am tempted to ask, don't the taxpayers care if they enjoy a better economy, or suffer a worse one? But you and I both know the answer. By and large, taxpayers are too fiscally uninformed, and too vigilantly envious, to permit themselves to support any of that.

                      That was a big political problem which policy makers solved by screwing alike both the insolvent borrowers, and the hapless taxpayers, while gifting wildly irresponsible (and in many instances probably criminally irresponsible) bankers. It did not escape public notice that the policymakers who crafted that outcome were themselves bankers.

                      The rage I mentioned followed immediately, while the crisis remains ongoing, and largely unaddressed. That turned out to be a pretty costly lesson in moral probity for householders.

                    5. Weren't there enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus check, or was that all a bad fever dream? So now the people whO spent that money on anything but rent should of course be completely trusted with a new wad of cash to spend? There will never be enough free cash handed out to satisfy you because you'll always overlook all previous decisions or come up with some new excuse.

                    6. "the nation gifted bankers who had been far more irresponsible than any of their borrowers."

                      FWIW, 'we made a mistake bailing out deadbeat bankers' isn't really a persuasive argument in favor of 'we should make another mistake and keep bailing out deadbeat tenants'.

                      'victims of happenstance'

                      A bartender who had trouble paying rent in the Spring of 2020 because their bar was shutdown because of covid was a victim of happenstance. If that same bartender is ignoring the 'we're hiring!' signs just about every business has posted today, they aren't still a victim of happenstance.

                      There landlord might be though - or more correctly, a victim of us.

                    7. "Stop making things up so you can attack your opponents for imagined faults. You’ll sound less like a deranged left-wing loon."

                      Or keep making things up, so you can sound like a right-wing loon.

        2. "the renters might be smart about that" smart in the manner of the unjust steward.
          The renters intend NEVER to pay the rent in arrears (or in CA ever).

          1. Are you one of the renters, Don? Or are you just projecting what you'd do?

        3. Give the renters the money, and watch them disappear in the middle of the night, without paying their landlord a cent.

      2. "However, the big problem in using those funds seems to be that the renter has to agree to cooperate with the landlord in order to get the state to deliver those federal funds.
        And, surprise surprise, arrears renters are often unwilling to help their landlords.


        And the states don't have anything set up to deliver any actual dollars.

  8. What’s wrong with picking people’s brains?

    1. Who said anything was wrong with that? The administration's failure here is picking and choosing advice based on whether it says what Biden's operators want to hear.

      1. How is this worse than the Trump administration “outsourcing” judicial appointments to the Federalist Society?

        1. Go on, develop that analogy. Which judicial appointments were supposed to be informed by in-house lawyers, whose opinions were discarded in favor of an extreme outsider, whose poor excuse for a rationale was then used to brow-beat those in-house advisors into compliance with a Congressional leader's abnegation/misdelegation of responsibility? How did Trump rely on a rationale offered by the Federalist Society in those appointments?

          1. At least Trump never tried to appoint his White House Counsel to the Supreme Court. W did that, though.

      2. "The administration’s failure here is picking and choosing advice based on whether it says what Biden’s operators want to hear."

        Does "we'll be greeted as liberators" sound familiar?

  9. What? No National Injunction by a rabid Conservative Judge? The pretextual excuse that THIS is a different moratorium is as fatally flawed as other liberal EO's. DACA and DAPA come to mind. I wouldn't mind if, the Illegal Aliens were Journalists and Lawyers displacing our 'Professional' Class.Might improve the breed, eh? Apparently though, only Socialist Illegals can apply. None allowed from Cuba, for example. They might vote conservative.

      1. There's enough random capitalization in that one to support an inference that this yahoo had a stroke. Can't rule out that the stupidity was pre-existing, though.

    1. "only Socialist Illegals can apply. None allowed from Cuba, for example."

      Nobody tell him that Cuba is socialist.

  10. Josh Blackman, I want to help you out here. "Quiet part out loud," is a coinage created to refer to situations where someone with an ulterior motive blunders, and gives the game away inadvertently. When the person speaking is being utterly forthright—Biden, for instance, with regard to the politics, and legality of the eviction moratorium—you don't get to imply an ulterior motive just because you don't like the motive the speaker is forthrightly telling you he has. There is no quiet part in question.

    People seem to like that about Biden, by the way.

    1. The "quiet part" is the admission that the new moratorium is being pushed in spite of its Constitutional failings but with a superficially different structure that is hoped to delay judicial response to it. That's why Blackman quoted it in the second half of the headline.

      1. "this time, for sure, abortions will be banned." Because this time, we don't ban abortions, which are still legal to get, But it's now criminal to operate any kind of medical clinic that can't become a class II trauma center overnight. If this doesn't work, next time we'll try to make it illegal to sell or rent any kind of building to anybody who has ever performed an abortion.

  11. I'm shocked, shocked to fund that Biden is playing politics. Why Blackman finds this remarkable is beyond me.

  12. I don't like the moratorium, but this post is ridiculous.

    First, so he wanted advice on the new moratorium's constitutionality and got a mixed response from his adivsers. So he made the choice to go with it. How is that not what a President is supposed to do. Seek advice from those more knowledgable in an area and then make the decision. He isn't passing the buck. Some think it is constitutional and others don't, he is free to agree with those that think it is. Also in the way our government has always worked, good or bad, he can decide to go forward with it and let the courts decide. I see no governence problem with that at all.

    The second one is really just based on your first one. He did seek advice on the legality and made a decision. HIS decision. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean he is neglecting his duty

    Third, I don't agree with the argument either, but it is pretty standard for politicians across the board. Nothing unusual. No more meek than your Texas v California arguments.

    Fourth, he did not in anyway say it was the primary purpose. He said they could do it if needed. I'm sure the primary purpose of the moratorium is because he thinks the moratorium is the right policy to have. Just a guess.

    Fifth, how can you be complaining about snide remarks the Court. When was the last post you made that didn't have a snide remark about Roberts, Kavanaugh, or Kagan? Plus it isn't even snide unless you want to read it that way. People have always considered the composition of the Court when determing the likelihood of success or their arguments. That is really the most mundane thing that has ever been said.

    1. You missed a lot of context. As he said clearly earlier in the week, the government's actual lawyers told him that there was no way to constitutionally enact another moratorium. Nancy Pelosi and others outside the executive branch didn't like that, and told him where to go dig up some other rationale to issue a new moratorium. So Biden followed orders like a good boy, and passed along the message that admission lawyers should use even a rotten justification in an attempt to delay judicial response.

      1. No, earlier this week he said it was clear they couldn't extend the existing moratorium. So yes they looked for way to plausibly legally accomplish as much as they could. That is pretty basic politics. Look I'm not arguing this is good policy, or legal, but this post is ridiculous.

        1. “As much as they could”.

          They extended the moratorium. If Biden thinks he’s on firm legal footing, why does he hope the litigation lasts a long time? Why does he care how long it lasts?

          This whole thing is ridiculous. It’s the president doing what he wants because he can.

          It’s really disheartening here to see how many people don’t give a shit about the basic constitutional rights of the owners of property here. The government can just take anything they want from us any time they want?

          1. "They extended the moratorium. If Biden thinks he’s on firm legal footing, why does he hope the litigation lasts a long time? Why does he care how long it lasts?"

            Maybe he thinks the outcome of any trial will be fixed, not unlike the fate of any legislation that gets sent to the Senate.

        2. This sounds not unlike the effort to get Mr. Trump's "Muslim Ban" enacted. So, Muslim Ban 1.0 got shot down, for being blatantly unConstitutional, and Muslim Ban 2.0 was also shot down, maybe Muslim Ban 3.0 will pass muster.
          Or various state legislatures trying to criminalize abortions over Roe v. Wade.

    2. Maybe Prof. Blackman would be happier if the President pretended to be an expert himself and advised people to, oh I don't know, inject themselves with bleach?

  13. Biden is only following the science: how could he do anything but subordinate himself to science as expressed by the CDC, FDA, and USPHS? I mean, really, what if poor Hitler had ignored the science?

  14. Lots of pearl clutching on this thread. I think that Biden is just being forthright about the fact that it is a close call. And the supreme court order did not vacate the moratorium so the DC circuit decision is binding precedent notwithstanding Justice Kavanaugh’s public ruminations. Hardy the demise of the rule of law. See

    1. Again, just like with everyone else, it’s good that you can be so comfortable with someone else losing their rights because the president can’t tell his most extreme followers no.

      1. "...the president can’t tell his most extreme followers no"

        I seem to recall a President very recently who not only refused to tell the extremists "no," but in fact encouraged their behavior and cheered them on.


        1. But that doesn't count. Because people will excuse behavior from one of their own party that they'd scream for public hangings if the guilty party was in that OTHER party.

  15. "Even if government ultimately lose, it won't matter because the money will be distributed out."

    Indeed, if the landlords get the rent they are owed, what reason do they have to pursue eviction? If there are no eviction cases being pursued, then a moratorium on processing eviction cases bothers who, exactly? Smug people who are sure that their jobs (and income) are perfectly safe. Hint: Watch out. The residential property crisis is only a precursor to the coming crisis in commercial real estate, as so many businesses have learned that they don't need nearly as much office space as they've been paying for.

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