The lawsuit alleges that the Biden administration and CDC lack authority to extend the moratorium beyond July 31st.
A group of landlords and housing groups, led by the Alabama Association of Realtors, has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s extension of an eviction moratorium.
“The CDC caved to the political pressure by extending the moratorium, without providing any legal basis,” the group wrote in their lawsuit. “In substance and effect, the CDC’s latest action is an extension of the same unlawful ban on evictions that has been in effect since September 2020.”
“A majority of the Supreme Court made clear that the eviction moratorium exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and could not be extended beyond July 31, thus vindicating this Court’s first merits ruling,” they claimed. “The Supreme Court’s ruling was hardly ambiguous.”
In their complaint, the realtors alleged that the Supreme Court already held that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could not extend the current ban past the end of July.
“Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh’s controlling opinion was clear that the CDC could not extend the moratorium past July 31 absent ‘clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation),’” the lawsuit says. “This Court has already concluded that the CDC lacks authority to issue or extend an eviction moratorium.”
However, the Biden administration has already shot back.
On Friday, the Justice Department requesting that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismiss the lawsuit, since the Supreme Court ruling referenced by the realtors was not actually decided in the housing industry’s favor.
“The motion should be denied, as it rests on the incorrect premise that the Supreme Court had issued a ‘ruling’ in Plaintiffs’ favor,” the Justice Department wrote in their filing.
According to NBC News, the Biden administration has struggled with the eviction moratorium for months.
While the White House initially said that it lacked the authority to continue extending the moratorium, it later reversed tracked, despite admitting that its decision could be held up in court.
Nevertheless, the Justice Department has said that the federal government’s decision is fact-based and fully defensible.
“Faced with these rising case numbers, and instead of extending its previous ‘nationwide eviction moratorium,’ [the] CDC has issued a new moratorium that applies only in areas of substantial or high transmissions, thus exercising its authority to tailor a set of necessary actions to reduce the interstate spread of communicable disease.”
Given the circumstances, the Justice Department has said that no court should strike down the order—especially since the landlords’ lawsuit targets the original moratorium, and asserts no “claims against the new, narrower CDC order.”
NBC News notes that U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich has ordered the landlords to file their response to the government by 9pm on Friday.