Supreme Court issues thorough rebuke of unlawful CDC eviction moratorium
August 26, 2021
Washington, D.C.; August 26, 2021: The Supreme Court today reinstated a district court decision holding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide eviction moratorium unlawful. In Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, the Court made clear that the CDC had far exceeded the authority Congress granted it in a 1944 statute that allows the agency to control the spread of disease across state lines.
“Today the Supreme Court confirmed what landlords have been arguing for nearly a year: that the CDC does not have the breathtaking power to ban evictions nationwide,” said Steve Simpson, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents landlords in several challenges to the eviction moratorium. “Laws that burden one group with the obligation to house people during a pandemic have no place in a free society. But if we are going to have laws like that, our Constitution requires that they come from Congress, not unelected bureaucrats.”
“It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts,” stated the Court’s six-justice majority. “[T]he Government’s read of [the law] would give the CDC a breathtaking amount of authority. It is hard to see what measures this interpretation would place outside the CDC’s reach.”
Pacific Legal Foundation filed two lawsuits against the CDC moratorium on behalf of landlords who argue that the moratorium violates the Constitution’s separation of powers by circumventing Congress. One, Skyworks v. CDC, was the first lawsuit in the nation in which a court ruled that the CDC lacked statutory authority to enact the eviction ban.
Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.