By Kyle Swensen | Washington Post
In a ruling that could have a tremendous impact on millions of Americans, a federal judge in Washington D.C. on Wednesday ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its legal authority when it issued a nationwide eviction moratorium.U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich’s 20-page order says that the protection, first put in place during the coronavirus pandemic under the Trump administration and now set to run out on June 30, goes too far.
“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 order stated. “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.”
“According to Judge Friedrich’s order today, the CDC overstepped its statutory authority in implementing the controversial nationwide moratorium on residential evictions. Under the CDC’s reading of the statute purportedly granting it the authority to roll out the moratorium, the CDC Secretary can make a determination that a given measure is “necessary” to combat interstate spread of disease and there is no limit to the reach of the Secretary’s authority. Judge Friedrich would not agree with the CDC’s broad reading of the applicable statute. Quoting a 2014 opinion written by now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Judge Friedrich is “confident that the enacting Congress did not intend to grow such a large elephant in such a small mousehole.” Today’s ruling will undoubtedly affect millions of landlords and tenants across the country. It remains to be seen whether the ruling will be appealed, and also the process for unwinding the moratorium on evictions.”
–Dan Gauthier, Rose Law Group attorney