Supreme Court May be Asked To Consider CDC Eviction Freeze

( Renters who have been short on cash during the coronavirus pandemic have been saved by a federal eviction freeze.

But, the legality of that moratorium could soon come before the Supreme Court.

A group of landlords have been fighting the eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They even won a ruling in federal court earlier in May.

While the federal judge in that case struck down the policy, though, she stayed the ruling while an appeal is being formulated by the Biden administration. The landlord group is trying to press to have that stay, which was issued by U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, lifted.

If they are successful in doing so, the eviction freeze that’s applicable across the country could immediately be lifted. Landlords could then start the process of removing tenants who have struggled to pay their normal rent during the coronavirus pandemic due to financial hardship.

It’s estimated that tens of thousands of renters have benefited from the eviction moratorium to date.

The landlord group sent a four-page letter to Friedrich in which they explained they would ask Washington’s intermediate appeals court and the Supreme Court to overturn her stay. They are arguing that the improved public health outlook issued by the CDC recently negates the reason why the eviction moratorium was in effect in the first place.

The letter, written by the Alabama Association of Realtors and other co-challengers in the case, read:

“Although the CDC once feared that people who gather indoors after being evicted will spread COVID-19, the CDC has concluded that the threat of spreading the disease indoors is so low that vaccinated Americans do not even need to wear masks or socially distance ‘in any setting.’

“All renters in the United States are eligible for the vaccine — and, according to the CDC’s own data, most adults have already received at least one shot.”

The CDC enacted their order in September in what was touted as a public health measure. The CDC said that by helping tenants who are financially distressed remain in their homes, it would keep them out of crowded living spaces and even homeless shelters, which in turn would help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The pause on evictions was then extended through June.

In her decision issued on May 5, Friedrich, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said the CDC exceeded the authority it has by issuing the temporary ban on evictions. As such, the judge vacated the order.

But then just last week, Friedrich granted a request by the Biden administration for an emergency stay. She found that the CDC’s “strong interest in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and protecting public health” outweighed the other factors in this case. That included the potential loss of revenue the landlords were facing.

The landlord group isn’t just asking for the stay to be lifted. They are also asking the judge to place a requirement on the CDC that they have to update rationale for their policy, since they recently released more upbeat news about the ongoing public health situation.