The Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors filed a legal challenge in district court just days after the Biden administration issued a new eviction ban.

Biden’s administration had allowed the original ban to expire last weekend, at least in part because the Supreme Court had already warned that the CDC doesn’t have authority to make any such law. 

The plaintiffs are arguing that the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), who issued an order barring evictions until October, doesn’t have any authority to make such a declaration. 

The National Association of Realtors issued a statement, speaking out on behalf of landlords and those who own rental properties. They described half of such landlords as “mom-and-pop operators,” and with the government arbitrarily proclaiming that renters don’t have to pay for the services rendered, “they cannot pay their own bills or maintain their properties.”

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No Legal Authority

The legal brief filed by the groups also says that the CDC caved to pressure from Democrats when they reinstated the ban, even after judges had warned that clearly the agency did not have any power to enforce it.

The CDC enacted the ban “for nakedly political reasons,” as argued by the plaintiffs.

National Apartment Association President and CEO Bob Pinnegar said, “We were really just a pawn in this process. Looking back at it, it appears to me that this was more about keeping together the Democratic caucus in the House for the upcoming infrastructure bill than anything else. And so definitely, there’s a lot of frustration on the part of the industry.”

Pinnegar may have a case. Politico notes that Democrats in Congress were looking at such a law, but couldn’t get the votes. So instead, the administration did the deed by fiat. 

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Eviction Moratoriums Did Not Start With Biden

Back in September of 2020, former President Donald Trump issued an executive order which gave the CDC the authority to halt evictions at the height of the pandemic. 

At the time, Trump had made the statement, “I want to make it unmistakably clear that I’m protecting people from evictions.”

But while Donald Trump may have had the sincere wish to help people, as Biden surely does, it’s not at all clear that such a move is legal. 

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‘Maybe Its Illegal But Its Worth it’

Back in June, Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh sided with the liberal Justices in ruling that indeed, the CDC has exceeded it’s authority, but the eviction ban was about to run out, so it wouldn’t be shut down.

“Because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds, I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the District Court’s stay of its order,” Kavanaugh wrote.

Obviously, such a ruling is politically-motivated rather than dealing simply with the legality of the ban. 

The Biden administration, over the last few days, has given a valiant effort to try to appear as though that they were trying to find a legal way to extend the moratorium, meaning, through Congress.

Biden’s explanation for going ahead with the extension was even hard for the Washington Post to defend. They reported that Biden had conceded, “the bulk of the constitutional scholars say it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.”

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki did a 180, saying that Biden, who has a law degree, would not have supported the action if he was not comfortable with its legal muster.

Psaki added, “This is a narrow, targeted moratorium that is different from the national moratorium. It’s not an extension of that.”

 

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