The Supreme Court narrowly upheld a stay on an order to strike down the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s three liberal justices and Justice Brett Kavanaugh issuing a separate concurrence. Kavanaugh was the only justice to offer a rationale for his decision in the case, which he said he came to despite agreeing that the CDC lacked authority to issue a blanket eviction ban.
“I agree…that the [CDC] exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium. [However], because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds, I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the […] stay,” Kavanaugh wrote. “In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
The case against the CDC’s eviction moratorium was brought by a group of landlords and realtors who claimed the CDC had overstepped its authority when it ordered a halt on evictions. The CDC had originally issued the moratorium after the expiration of the eviction moratorium in the CARES Act last July, citing its mandate to stop the spread of infectious disease. However, as the pandemic waned and the economy recovered, landlords became increasingly frustrated at their inability to evict non-paying tenants. Last week, the CDC extended the moratorium through July 31, for what it said would be the last time.