President Joe Biden has potentially waded into hot water, legally speaking, with the surprise announcement last week regarding an extension to the federal eviction moratorium, which was renewed last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the Daily Caller, legal experts are already crying foul on Biden’s decision to approve an extension to the program, which expired on July 31. Various legal scholars have suggested that the extension, announced by the CDC last week, is “likely unlawful,” and will ultimately be challenged in court.
What’s going on?
The eviction moratorium extension debacle escalated quickly last week when Biden announced that it would be left up to Congress to extend such a program, citing a recent Supreme Court decision that required congressional approval of such programs.
Congress ultimately failed to muster enough members to take a vote on extending the moratorium.
As a result, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and a number of progressive House Democrats ramped up intense pressure on the Biden administration to use its power to extend the program, even though Biden clearly previously stated it couldn’t be done.
Just days later, it appeared that the Biden administration buckled to the extreme, intra-party pressure, as the CDC announced a “targeted” version of the extension to the eviction moratorium, to center on places around the country with “high” or “substantial” rates of COVID-19 transmission, which includes roughly 90% of America.
Biden seemingly admitted this week, as Townhall noted, that the latest extension was questionable on a constitutional level, telling reporters, “I can’t guarantee you the court won’t rule that we don’t have that authority but at least we’ll have the ability to, if we have to appeal, to keep this going for a month-at least. I hope longer.”
Legal experts weigh in
The Daily Caller noted that several legal experts, including Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan Adler, and University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, told the outlet that the eviction moratorium extension is not legally sound.
“The new moratorium is likely unlawful. We don’t need to reach any of the potential constitutional issues because it lacks statutory authorization,” Adler said.
“The recent action is likely to be challenged in court, and the courts will need some time to resolve the challenge,” Tobias added.
While some other legal experts believe that Biden and the CDC were within constitutional rights to extend the moratorium, some GOP members of Congress, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), have suggested that such action is grounds for impeachment.
“It is absolutely impeachable, sane or not. In a sane world, Congress would act immediately to demand answers,” Roy tweeted Friday.