President Joe Biden suffered a resounding defeat in his administration’s push to unilaterally extend a national eviction moratorium.
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 ruling that struck down the Center for Disease Control and Prevention order, which bypassed Congress to implement the extension.
“Congress must specifically authorize it”
Of course, there were already indicators that order would not survive constitutional scrutiny, but it is noteworthy that three justices dissented from the majority despite those concerns.
As for the majority, their ruling determined that the CDC abused “a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination.”
Critics of the federal eviction moratorium argue that it is a blatant violation of property rights since landlords are forced to lose income and are not permitted to evict tenants for nonpayment.
“It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts,” the decision continued. “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it.”
That conclusion serves to bolster the widespread opinion that Biden and other Democratic leaders have abused the power of federal agencies to enact plans that impact millions of Americans.
Republicans work to reverse the trend
Some prominent progressives continue to use the COVID-19 pandemic as the basis for far-reaching executive orders that bypass the legislative process. This week, however, the Supreme Court asserted that any extension on the eviction moratorium must be enacted through the proper channels.
Since such a moratorium would be unlikely to pass in such a narrowly divided Congress, the high court’s decision represents a major win for Republicans hoping to reign in some of the government power exerted throughout the pandemic.
Even if it does represent a step in the right direction, though, the effort to scale back the size and scope of federal agencies is sure to be long and difficult.
Thus far, the CDC has been permitted to impose its will onto property owners across the United States, leading some on the right to suggest legislation that would prevent future rent moratoriums altogether.
In any case, it seems clear that even the extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19 should not provide cover for politicians eager to violate the constitutional rights of any American.