Federal Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Biden COVID Policy

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A D.C. federal appeals court has now upheld a moratorium on evictions put in place by the Biden administration. A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit handled the proceedings, and while there was no indication that any of the three judges were opposed to the overall panel’s decision to uphold the evictions moratorium, POLITICO notes that the judges did not provide a “detailed explanation” for their decision. The restrictions on evictions, which were imposed in response to the pandemic, were challenged in this case by certain chapters of the National Association of Realtors, which indicated through a spokesperson that they next intended to swiftly ask the U.S. Supreme Court to act.

As summarized by POLITICO, those challenging the Biden administration in this case “argue that the Biden administration ignored a late-June Supreme Court decision signaling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have the authority to impose a moratorium when the agency ordered the latest ban on Aug. 3.” Realtors were also behind the previous court challenge to prior restrictions on evictions that led to that earlier Supreme Court decision. At the time, the court was split on whether to allow those previous restrictions to remain in place — five out of nine justices backed upholding the provisions, while four did not. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who opted at the time to support leaving those prior eviction restrictions in place, said that the restrictions’ then-imminent expiration drove him to support having the policy remain in effect.

Biden himself has acknowledged that the imposition by federal authorities of a moratorium on evictions could face continued legal trouble. As he put it, any “call for a moratorium based on the Supreme Court’s recent decision is likely to face obstacles.” The more recent restrictions on evictions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were tied by the agency to an effort to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19, and in theory, the restrictions only apply to “counties with heightened levels of community transmission” of the virus, the agency says — although at present, with the spread of the so-called delta variant of the pathogen, that range includes much of the country.