Landlords across America suffered a defeat Tuesday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to strike down a COVID-19 pandemic-era moratorium on evictions.
The high court split 5-4 in choosing to keep the nationwide pause on evictions — a measure that was first enacted by former President Donald Trump during the economic recession that began last year, according to The Hill.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch voted to strike down the moratorium, while Brett Kavanaugh and John Roberts sided with the court’s liberals.
Close vote because of near expiration
The brief, one-page order from the Supreme Court provided no explanation from the justices, but Kavanaugh authored a short concurring opinion arguing that he would have struck down the moratorium if it were not set to expire in a few weeks.
“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.
Kavanaugh added that another moratorium would have to be passed through Congress.
As NPR reported, a moratorium was initially passed through Congress before Trump ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a similar order through federal regulation.
A federal judge appointed by the former president, Dabney Friedrich, had concluded in a win for landlords, who haven’t been collecting rent from their tenants, that the federal government overextended its authority, but she imposed a stay on her decision.
Biden pushes transformative agenda
The Alabama Association of Realtors said that landlords have been losing $13 billion per month as a result of the moratorium, which President Biden has extended until the end of July.
The daunting figures come as America’s economy is still in recovery from the pandemic, and the draconian shutdowns that government officials imposed.
Some 7 million households are still behind on rent, and as CBS News reported, the unemployment rate remains above its pre-pandemic levels, with many blaming president Biden’s stimulus for giving unemployed people an incentive to stay on the dole.
President Biden is also facing intense criticism over rising inflation, which he has shown no appetite to control with trillions of dollars in proposed spending on the table.