A federal judge Wednesday vacated a nationwide freeze on evictions that was handed down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help some renters remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moratorium had been implemented as millions of people lost work due to lockdowns caused by the pandemic. The move, which was first implemented in the March 2020 CARES Act, was seen as a temporary fix for renters who were at risk of going homeless.
U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled on the side of the plaintiffs, saying that the CDC exceeded its authority with the moratorium.
“The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not,” Friedrich wrote in a 20-page ruling. “The pandemic has triggered difficult policy decisions that have had enormous real-world consequences. The nationwide eviction moratorium is one such decision,” the judge added.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday it would appeal Friedrich’s ruling.
But Friedrich added that “it is the role of the political branches, and not the courts, to assess the merits of policy measures designed to combat the spread of disease, even during a global pandemic.”
The eviction moratorium has been heard in other courts since it was implemented. Some courts have, in fact, said the CDC has the authority to issue the order and rejected efforts to stop the ban on evictions, although a judge in Ohio in March ruled the agency overstepped its authority
The Epoch Times has contacted the CDC for comment.
Luke Wake, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, a group that represents landlords, said the ruling Wednesday suggests that the CDC is losing the fight in keeping the moratorium intact.
“The challengers have been right all along,” he said, according to The Hill. “The government has no authority against any landlord. Full stop.”
Housing and Urban Development secretary Marcia Fudge said Wednesday that the White House has targeted billions of dollars of vouchers for people at risk and added that cities should invest in public housing.
“We know we have put enough money in the system through the rescue plan that people should come out of this June 30th, at least current[ly], and so that in itself is going to allow us hopefully to keep people in their homes, as well as those people who actually have homes through [the Federal Housing Administration] or through the federal government,” she said in Wednesday news conference.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.