CDC

Supreme Court Rules Against the Revised CDC Eviction Moratorium

This outcome was widely expected by legal commentators.

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Earlier tonight, the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling against the Biden Administration's revised version of the Centers for Disease Control Eviction moratorium. While the ruling is technically a procedural one, not a final decision on the merits of the case, it nonetheless makes clear that a majority of justices believe the new version of the moratorium is illegal. In addition, the Supreme Court's reinstatement of the district court ruling against the moratorium may well have nationwide consequences, not limited to the specific parties in this case.

This result was predicted by many legal commentators, including myself, because the revised  moratorium had virtually all the same legal weaknesses as the original version first adopted by the Trump administration, and later extended multiple times under Biden. A majority of justices had already signaled they believed the original moratorium was illegal, in a procedural ruling issued in June (though at that time they nonetheless refused to lift the stay preventing the district court's judgment from going into effect). Even President Biden admitted that the revised moratorium was unlikely to survive judicial review, but decided to issue it anyway.

Here is the Supreme Court majority's explanation of why the moratorium is illegal:

The CDC relied on §361(a) of the Public Health Service Act for authority to promulgate and extend the eviction moratorium. See 58 Stat. 703, as amended, 42 U. S. C. §264(a). That provision states:

"The Surgeon General, with the approval of the [Secretary of Health and Human Services], is authorized to make and enforce such regulations as in his judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the States or possessions, or from one State or possession into any other State or possession. For purposes of carrying out and enforcing such regulations, the Surgeon General may provide for such inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, destruction of animals or articles found to be so infected or contaminated as to be sources of dangerous infection to human beings, and other measures, as in his judgment may be necessary…."

The applicants not only have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits—it is difficult to imagine them losing.The Government contends that the first sentence of §361(a) gives the CDC broad authority to take whatever measures it deems necessary to control the spread of COVID–19, including issuing the moratorium. But the second sentence informs the grant of authority by illustrating the kinds of measures that could be necessary: inspection, fumigation,disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, and destruction of contaminated animals and articles. These measures directly relate to preventing the interstate spread of disease by identifying, isolating, and destroying the disease itself. The CDC's moratorium, on the other hand, relates to interstate infection far more indirectly: If evictions occur, some subset of tenants might move from one State to another,and some subset of that group might do so while infected with COVID–19… This downstream connection between eviction and the interstate spread of disease is markedly different from the direct targeting of disease that characterizes the measures identified in the statute. Reading both sentences together, rather than the first in isolation, it is a stretch to maintain that §361(a) gives the CDC the authority to impose this eviction moratorium.

Even if the text were ambiguous, the sheer scope of the CDC's claimed authority under §361(a) would counsel against the Government's interpretation. We expect Congress to speak clearly when authorizing an agency to exercise powers of "vast 'economic and political significance.'" Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 573 U. S. 302, 324 (2014) (quoting FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U. S. 120, 160 (2000)). That is exactly the kind of power that the CDC claims here. At least 80% of the country, including between 6 and 17 million tenants at risk of eviction, falls within the moratorium…. "Our precedents require Congress to enact exceedingly clear language if itwishes to significantly alter the balance between federal and state power and the power of the Government over private property." United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Assn., 590 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2020)…

Indeed, the Government's read of §361(a) would give the CDC a breathtaking amount of authority. It is hard to see what measures this interpretation would place outside the CDC's reach, and the Government has identified no limit in §361(a) beyond the requirement that the CDC deem a measure "necessary…."

This claim of expansive authority under §361(a) is unprecedented. Since that provision's enactment in 1944, no regulation premised on it has even begun to approach the size or scope of the eviction moratorium. And it is further amplified by the CDC's decision to impose criminal penalties of up to a $250,000 fine and one year in jail on those who violate the moratorium…. Section 361(a) is a wafer-thin reed on which to rest such sweeping power.

As multiple lower court rulings have pointed out, such sweeping delegation of power to the executive branch would likely be unconstitutional, which is a further reason to interpret the statute in a way that avoids that problem, if possible.

In his dissent on behalf of the three liberal justices, Justice Stephen Breyer takes issue with the majority's interpretation of Section 361. But, significantly, he has no real answer to the point that the interpretation advocated by the government would give the CDC virtually unlimited power.

Breyer also argues that the majority acted too hastily in reinstating the district court's order, because lower courts were split over the legality of the original eviction moratorium (which suggests the issue is disputable). It is true there was disagreement in the lower courts, including a seriously flawed DC Circuit opinion supporting the moratorium in the case currently before the Supreme Court. But a large majority of lower court rulings on the issue (six of nine) went against the moratorium. And that doesn't count a recent Eleventh Circuit ruling, in which a 2-1 majority refused (on procedural grounds) to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the moratorium, but all three judges strongly suggested they believe the CDC order is illegal.

Moreover, as the majority pointed out, the legality of the CDC's eviction moratoria has been extensively litigated in the lower courts, and twice briefed before the Supreme Court itself. By now, the issues at stake have already been extensively aired.

Tonight's ruling is not, technically, a final decision on the merits. All it does is grant the plaintiffs' procedural motion to lift the stay against enforcement of the district court ruling against the CDC. But, as a practical matter, it is a clear and unambiguous signal of where the Supreme Court stands.

Moreover, for reasons I explained in my analysis of the original district court decision, that decision can plausibly be interpreted as a nationwide ruling vacating the CDC order, one not limited to the parties to this specific case. However, I am not expert on this particular procedural question, and therefore welcome correction by those with greater knowledge.

Even if tonight's decision does not immediately put an end to the moratorium, it does create a precedent that lower court judges will likely use to rule against the CDC in all the other cases challenging the moratorium around the country. Thus, practically speaking, the moratorium can no longer be effectively enforced against any property owners that choose to challenge it in court.

Tonight's ruling, like many of the earlier decisions in the eviction moratorium litigation, split the justices along left-right ideological lines. I lament that division.

Many on the left are likely to be unhappy with the result. But, as I have emphasized many times before, going back all the way to the initial enactment of the moratorium under Trump, progressives should ask themselves whether they really want the executive branch to have such sweeping power to shut down virtually any human activity of any kind. Even if you trust Biden to wield that power responsibly, do you have the same trust in the next Republican president?

People can differ over the policy merits of the eviction moratorium (I myself am highly skeptical of them). But both left and right have reason to be happy that the White House and CDC will be denied what one lower court ruling against the moratorium rightly called "near-dictatorial power."

NOTE: The plaintiffs in some of the lawsuits against the eviction moratorium (though not the one the Supreme Court just ruled on) are represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, where my wife works. I myself have played a minor (unpaid) role in advising PLF on this litigation.

NEXT: Immigrants Remain in Mexico, But Tenants Vacate Their Apartments

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  1. “All it does is grant the plaintiffs’ procedural motion to lift the stay against enforcement of the district court ruling against the CDC.”

    Oh, that’s *all*? It’s so simple a child could understand it, if that child was the young Sheldon Cooper.

    OK, let’s see…

    The CDC ordered a stop to evictions.

    The District court ruled against the CDC and said the evictions could continue.

    Then the District Court’s ruling was stayed and the CDC order was back on, meaning no evictions.

    Then the Supreme Court lifts the stay, meaning the CDC loses again and the evictions can resume.

    Whew! Did I get that right?

    1. No evidence the evicted increase transmission. Good evidence, the locked down do. You get the disease by breathing the air of other people. Being outdoors with your furniture will lower the risk. As usual, the arrogant, IVY indoctrinated, and elitist CDC gets this wrong. The CDC should be seen as a partisan, Democrat attack dog.

  2. What is the likelihood that Congress will reenact a moratorium of some kind or other, assuming there is another wave of hospitalizations (or assuming that this current one continues)? I have not been following the political side of this too carefully. Thanks in advance to any kind commenter who has been following the political side.

    1. The votes weren’t there, even in the House, when the previous moratorium was expiring and the Court strongly indicated express Congressional authorization was needed. I doubt that has changed – Pelosi didn’t even bring it to a vote in the House, which she would likely have done if she thought the issue was a winner. It has no chance in the Senate.

      1. Thanks. You saved me from hours of trawling through old news.

    2. “What is the likelihood that Congress will reenact a moratorium of some kind or other, assuming there is another wave of hospitalizations (or assuming that this current one continues)?”

      0. One of the parties that directs the actions of Congress members actually WANTS the virus to spread.

  3. Nice to see the Dem justices are complete unrepentant ideologues when even the ones on their side admit they can’t defend this when they approach it logically.

    1. That’s why they were appointed.

      Garland’s actions over the past year have shown that he was not the “moderate” the left claimed he was. He’s an unrepentant liberal who thinks that the only rights that matter are killing babies and ejaculating into other men’s colons.

      1. His client is Biden whom he has to represent to the best of his ability. Give him a break for having to scounge up arguments to defend shitty political decisions.

  4. the opinion does a lot more it virtually foreclosed any hope of the CDC winning on the merits lol.

    1. I once saw something similar in a Court of Appeals decision on a preliminary injunction motion. The COA held that the facts were so one-sided, they ordered on remand that summary judgment be entered on the claim.

      This strikes me as a pure issue of law — does the CDC have the authority to issue a moratorium. SCOTUS has given the answer: No. Why should summary judgment not be entered now?

      1. Because the Roberts Court never settles anything if they see a way to let it drag on?

  5. Good. Now Shaniqua can get kicked out after spending her stimmy checks on a new sail phone.

    1. Good, now the states no longer have to bother trying to get the landlords paid.

  6. “Place got hit by lightning? Fuck you, pay me.
    Supreme Court finally got around to getting it right? Fuck you, pay me.”

    That the decision came out tonight was the best timing for this administration. That idiot ginger mouthpiece won’t have to field any questions on the subject.

  7. The majority opinion concludes:

    “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue,
    Congress must specifically authorize it. The application to
    vacate stay presented to THE CHIEF JUSTICE and by him referred to the Court is granted.”

    This is worrisome and wholly unnecessary language. It suggests that Congress definitively has the power to order a nationwide eviction moratorium, which should be, at least, an open question. Takings Clause issues aside, this would be a huge federal intrusion into a traditional domain of the states. Perhaps, at least, the Court should have written “THIS” moratorium instead of “A” moratorium.

    1. F.D. Wolf, leave Covid out of it, and rethink your objection in the context of a nationwide epidemic of weaponized smallpox. With national deadly contagion at issue, why is federal intrusion into the states’ domain a principal concern? What if some states default on plainly-required public health measures, and thus subject the rest of the nation to repeated reinfection? Why isn’t that an instance where federal power is plainly necessary?

      1. Even in the context of weaponized smallpox, the moratorium would have been an unconstitutional taking unless Congress paid the rent itself. And just unconstitutional, absent identifying a power delegated to Congress that covered the action.

        “With national deadly contagion at issue, why is federal intrusion into the states’ domain a principal concern?”

        Because somebody thinking an action necessary doesn’t make it constitutional. Congress doesn’t have the power to enact any law it considers “necessary”, even setting aside the “proper”; It has the power to enact laws necessary and proper “for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

        If the power wasn’t granted in the first place by the Constitution, the fact that a law would be necessary to carry it into execution doesn’t mean squat.

        Because you can’t identify an enumerated power authorizing it?

      2. Rethink your logic in the context of a terrorist who hid a nuclear bomb somewhere in New York City, and it will explode in 24 hours. Do you torture him to find out where it is?

        Or, to quote Lennon, “Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion, too”. The CDC would not exist without the federal (national) government, so why are you concerned with how you imagine states would behave in the face of a figmentary disease?

      3. Forget specific hypotheticals for a moment. Does Congress have the blanket power to declare a rent moratorium? The Court’s words, taken in isolation, would seem to suggest so, though I doubt all (if any) of the justices in the majority believe so.

        Imagine, for example, a Congressional statute that blocks evictions in a state (or county, city, etc.) if unemployment reaches 20%. Would such a statute be constitutional? I imagine people would disagree on the answer. And, surely, if Congress can freeze evictions, it can regulate rents, right?

        Anyway, I would have worded things a bit differently.

  8. Well this has got to be the biggest surprise since, well since forever. Who expected this? (Ans: Everyone).

    We expected Prof. Blackman to have posted first, but he has probably been delayed by a massive celebration of the ruling and his utter giddiness in looking forward to watching, live on Fox News, the hundreds of thousands of families being evicted and forced to live in the streets.

    Of course, that is the result when government enacts idiotic policies that benefit no one and are not authorized by law. This ruling, however correct, is no cause for anything except sadness and compassion.

    1. “Of course, that is the result when government enacts idiotic policies that benefit no one and are not authorized by law. This ruling, however correct, is no cause for anything except sadness and compassion.”

      We’ll see. Just imagine the effects of all the rental property that’s about to come on the market.

      1. Condo conversions are going to be a big thing over the next year, I expect.

      2. “We’ll see. Just imagine the effects of all the rental property that’s about to come on the market.”

        Assuming it comes on the rental-property market. Assuming there IS a rental property market, with so many potential renters effectively blackballed by having an eviction on their recent history.

  9. What is most pathetic is the nature of the dissent, based not on the law but on a highly improbable speculation that lacks any foundation in principle or in credibility.

    1. The liberal Justices had to put their best argument forward, and the law simply isn’t on their side.

      With that taken away, there isn’t much left to base their arguments on.

    2. Don Nico, would it be highly improbable speculation to suggest that erstwhile tenants who had been sheltering safely from the pandemic would become more likely to sicken and die if they had to resort to homeless shelters? I suggest that for some subset of the aged and immune compromised, even vaccination is neither sufficient foundation nor credible principle to assert they would not.

      That of course might still open the door to rule that the rent moratorium was too broadly applied in this case, now, while effective vaccination seems to be readily available. But what does that imply for the case as precedent, in a future instance where and when no amelioration but sheltering in isolation may prove effectual.

      Two factors seem to have been overlooked. One, that the government is ready to supply relief to landlords. And second, that Covid-19 is far from a worst-case public health emergency. That has opened the door to legal decisions which might seem appropriate in this case, but which could prove catastrophic in more dire circumstances.

      1. “would it be highly improbable speculation to suggest that erstwhile tenants who had been sheltering safely from the pandemic would become more likely to sicken and die if they had to resort to homeless shelters?”

        And how about grocery shopping? If they have to stop sheltering in place, and go grocery shopping, they could be more likely to sicken and die. Therefore Grubhub could be subjected to a moratorium requiring them to deliver food to people who refuse to pay for it!

        Look, just because Congress decides people need something you have, doesn’t mean Congress is legally entitled to order you to let them have it without compensation, as happened here.

        And your total lack of interest in actually identifying any power in the Constitution that covers this is pretty troubling. You seem to think the federal government has any power it thinks it needs, regardless of the lack of any relevant constitutional text.

        1. “Look, just because Congress decides people need something you have, doesn’t mean Congress is legally entitled to order you to let them have it without compensation, as happened here.”

          You seem to be confusing an eviction moratorium for a charging-rent moratorium. Hint: We actually had one of these, and not the other.

          1. Right, so we’ll tell GrubHub they can keep charging for deliveries, but if someone refuses to pay they can’t take any action on it and have to keep delivering as usual. No problem at all with that, then! If you can’t evict people for non-payment of rent, then it’s the same as not being able to charge rent. You have no way to enforce it.

      2. Stephen Lathrop
        August.27.2021 at 3:51 am
        Flag Comment Mute User
        “Don Nico, would it be highly improbable speculation to suggest that erstwhile tenants who had been sheltering safely from the pandemic would become more likely to sicken and die if they had to resort to homeless shelters?”.

        Stephen – the proper measure is the difference in the risk of transmission by staying in the rental property vs the risk of transmission if they are evicted and move to a different location. contrary to all the hype about the risk of transmission after eviction, That Delta is extremely small. As such, the justification is not based on the supposed science.

        1. Tom, did you notice I mentioned a subset of the aged and immune compromised. Do you suppose that for them that delta is extremely small. If so, can you explain your basis for thinking that?

          1. Stephen Lathrop
            August.27.2021 at 9:12 am
            Flag Comment Mute User
            “Tom, did you notice I mentioned a subset of the aged and immune compromised. Do you suppose that for them that delta is extremely small. If so, can you explain your basis for thinking that?”

            Stephen -you are doing a good job explaining how trivial the eviction mortatorium is on the reduction in the spread of covid really is. The subset you expressed fear (the aged and immune compromised) is only a very tiny subset of a tiny subset.

            the studies showing benefit of the eviction mortatorium were so flawed that they make the ferguson models look like the gold standard.

            1. Tom, I wonder if you know what you are talking about. I am sure you are focusing on the wrong part of the statistical set.

              People with non-trivial auto-immune diseases number somewhat more than 1% of the nation’s population, at least. Counting only rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus, it may be close to 2%. Add to those all the transplant recipients and cancer patients who receive powerful immune suppressants, and the percentage may still seem small to you, but it adds up to millions of people.

              For fairly obvious reasons, that group are less likely to have jobs, and thus more likely to be rental tenants. And quite a lot of them—nearly all of the ones who follow their doctors’ advice—have been especially careful to avoid social contact, to avoid getting Covid.

              So take that group and expose them willy-nilly to the Delta variant, and it seems more than likely that you would see an appreciable increase in deaths. Maybe not a doubling of deaths, but a great many more deaths than would occur if the immune compromised remained able to continue the extreme social distancing that many prefer to practice.

              Please assure me that you understand that the policy you advocate implicates an increase in mortality amounting tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people.

              1. Because groups that are relatively well-defined are theoretically vulnerable to illness, that justifies a blanket rule that is not at all premised on the vulnerability of the beneficiaries?

                I think Tom was exactly right when he said you were quite effectively highlighting how weak the rationale and defense of the moratorium are.

        2. Tom, did you notice I mentioned a much more virulent hypothetical pandemic, where the delta you mention would presumably be large? I take as a premise that legal interpretations decided now may be relied upon in future cases. I am concerned about assertions of personal rights so broad they would preclude effective emergency powers in a more severe case. You do not seem to be responding to questions of that sort. What do you think?

        3. Tom, do you suppose the Constitution constrains Congress to means justifiable by science. Or that the Constitution empowered the Court as an arbiter of scientific fact?

          1. “Tom, do you suppose the Constitution constrains Congress to means justifiable by science. Or that the Constitution empowered the Court as an arbiter of scientific fact?”

            I suppose the Constitution constrains Congress (and the rest of the government) to the powers and means enumerated in the Constitution. And for that matter this was not even an action by Congress which at least has the power to make law (although I don’t see any Constitutional foundation for this eviction moratorium).

            1. “for that matter this was not even an action by Congress which at least has the power to make law ”

              Go back to review the enabling statute for the CDC. Did Congress authorize the CDC to do anything other than occupy office space in Atlanta?

  10. But, significantly, he has no real answer to the point that the interpretation advocated by the government would give the CDC virtually unlimited power.

    Well, not really unlimited power. Just nearly unlimited power in the case of a pandemic emergency—which is sharply limited power, given how rare those are.

    Once again, the argument from the Court’s conservatives edges toward assertion that no federal power is sufficiently limited unless it can be shown that the power stops short of actually accomplishing its objectives. After all, if a power actually is a proper means to completely accomplish an objective, what can the Solicitor General answer when a justice demands in the context of a particular case that the Solicitor General demonstrate a limit?

    Chief Justice Marshall had it right when he wrote that the decree of necessity is a matter for Congress, not for the Court. Not that a partisan court intent on thwarting political opponents is likely to take any notice, of course.

    I don’t mean this comment to signal disagreement with the outcome in this case, but only disagreement with the notion that Supreme Court justices enjoy unlimited power to demand limits more constrictive than time-honored interpretations based on the Necessary and Proper Clause. Marshall was right when he wrote that that clause is numbered among the enhancements of congressional power, not among its limitations.

    1. “Well, not really unlimited power. Just nearly unlimited power in the case of a pandemic emergency—which is sharply limited power, given how rare those are.”

      In what the CDC decides is a pandemic emergency. And how rare would those be in the future if they gave the CDC unlimited power?

      “Once again, the argument from the Court’s conservatives edges toward assertion that no federal power is sufficiently limited unless it can be shown that the power stops short of actually accomplishing its objectives.”

      You keep saying this, but this doesn’t come from anything the Court has actually said, but simply their refusal to endorse your own contrary view, that the federal government has every last power it thinks necessary to 100% accomplish any objective it things worthwhile. And never mind if anything in the Constitution gives them that power.

      1. “In what the CDC decides is a pandemic emergency. And how rare would those be in the future if they gave the CDC unlimited power?”

        And interesting exercise of prognosication. I foresee that declining vaccination as a political statement will decrease, because extending the pandemic will no longer be viewable as an exercise of independent rebellion against government power if the existence of pandemic allows expansion of federal mandate. Conversely, if limiting the growth of federal power is more important than limiting the spread of potentially -dangerous infectious disease, then you’ll get a whole political party taking the side of the virus against the rest of the population of the United States.

    2. “Chief Justice Marshall had it right when he wrote that the decree of necessity is a matter for Congress, not for the Court.”

      Let’s see what Justice Marshall actually said.

      “Congress must possess the choice of means, and must be empowered to use any means which are in fact conducive to the exercise of a power granted by the Constitution.”

      I think Justice Marshall doesn’t get you anywhere, until you’ve first identified a power granted by the Constitution, a step you don’t seem to regard as needed here.

      1. Brett, I will leave it to others to school you on the subject of legal basis for national emergency powers to suppress contagion. I am not expert on that. I concede that I have sometimes been puzzled by that question myself.

        However, history seems to make it plain that it is a power of long standing, and unquestioned except by crackpots. That makes so much sense—given an undoubted need, and the utter lack of any other practical source of amelioration—that I am content to rely on history and customary practice as the justification.

        I recognize that will not satisfy you. Nothing does. Maybe you ought to think that over. You could start by accepting my premise to see what that felt like. Do you suppose a pandemic which threatened to kill more than half of everyone in the nation would mobilize vigorous resistance to government action from tens of millions of people like yourself? Given all the plagues of history, when has something like that ever happened?

        1. Maybe we could discuss that when such a pandemic shows up. Who knows, in such a case Congress might even rouse itself to legislate, and we could examine which enumerated power they cited, assuming they, too, didn’t just assume they had the power to do anything they thought a good idea to do.

          Certainly Covid was not such a disease, though you could excuse early concerns based on the possibility it was an escaped biowarfare agent. Early concerns.

          This policy went on long past the point where anybody could have thought Covid a threat of that scale, and even if some provision for people who couldn’t pay their rent was justified, THIS provision was a gross overreach, motivated by politics, not disease control.

          As I’ve said, would not the same reasoning permit you to cheat Grubhub of their payment for delivering food? Since when has the government thinking people really needed something been justification for letting them steal it?

          And that’s what the CDC policy did: It let people willing to file those papers commit robbery on a massive scale, and threatened hugely over the top retaliation against anybody who tried to stop them.

          We wouldn’t be having this discussion if the government had offered to take over rent payments, rather than simply directing that people had to be permitted to get away without making them. Maybe a different discussion, but a less heated one.

          1. ” THIS provision was a gross overreach, motivated by politics, not disease control.”

            Brett wouldn’t be able to sign his name to it if it didn’t contain at least one instance of assuming anything he doesn’t understand MUST be motivated by bad faith of people he has different political ideology with.

            The key defense against becoming infected with contagion is to remain isolated from people who already have it. Keeping the uninfected in separate places from the infected protects the uninfected… all of them.

  11. Progressive’s and state authoritarian’s need to learn that the mere passage of legislation providing rental assistance and issuing edicts, is not good government. There would be a better emotional plea/basis if the government had actually dispersed the assistance funds to the tenants and or landlords. 90% of the rental/tenant assistance funds have not been dispersed to tenants or landlords.

    There are still property rights. Property owners can not be deprived of their property without due process and fair compensation. This edict/moratorium was vulnerable to a takings claim. See Cedar Point Nursery.

    1. Look everybody: Someone forgot that the eviction moratorium was first put in place by a “Republican” administration.

    2. Progressive’s and state authoritarian’s

      Hi: apostrophes indicate possession, not plural.

    3. “90% of the rental/tenant assistance funds have not been dispersed to tenants or landlords.”

      That’s because the states didn’t have bureaucrats in place to manage the money, and, in some of the states, had no intention of changing that circumstance.

      Some people went all-in on a strategy of “if we pretend the virus doesn’t exist, it’ll go away by itself”, and that strategy is not yet working.

  12. What’s the penalty if you evict somebody? Does the FBI come and arrest you?

    1. Basically, you couldn’t get a court to order the eviction in the first place. But, based on the hugely over the top penalties, nobody was willing to risk finding out what enforcement would be like.

    2. “Under 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571; 42 U.S.C. 271; and 42 CFR 70.18, a person violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 or one year in jail, or both, if the violation does not result in a death, or a fine of no more than $250,000 or one year in jail, or both if the violation results in a death, or as otherwise provided by law. An organization violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death or $500,000 per event if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law.”

      1. You could always evict them by burning the building to the ground, but for some reason, landlords were not eager to use this tactic.

  13. No surprise here – I can’t imagine any other result.

    However ….

    “a large majority of lower court rulings on the issue (six of nine) went against the moratorium.”

    Given that the smallest possible majority among nine is five, how in hell can six be called a large majority? A large majority would be eight. Seven? A large majority if you squint.

    1. Yeah, that struck me as hyperbole, too.

    2. 6-3 is a temporary majority.

      7-6 would be a better majority.

      See you guys down the road apiece.

    3. 2/3 is a supermajority.

      .500000001 is a small majority.

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