Washington, DC: In direct defiance of numerous federal courts that have declared unconstitutional the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium order, the CDC today took the bold and illegal action of extending and expanding it.
In February 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas entered a final judgment declaring the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium order unconstitutional.
The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed by Southeastern Legal Foundation and Texas Public Policy Foundation on behalf of a coalition of private property owners who were forced to house others for free and carry all the costs that come with owning a house like property taxes and mortgage. We argued that the federal government cannot interfere with private property rights or access to the courts to exercise their rights under state law and the court agreed. Seeing the eviction moratorium for what it was-an unconstitutional power grab- Judge J. Campbell Barker declared the CDC nationwide eviction moratorium unconstitutional.
The CDC invoked the federal government’s power over interstate commerce and pointed to COVID-19 as its reason for needing the eviction moratorium. But after SLF and TPPF filed the suit, the federal government admitted that COVID-19 had nothing to do with the eviction moratorium and that it had the authority to suspend residential evictions for any reason, including the CDC’s views on “fairness.”
In other words, it was the federal government’s position that it has unchecked authority to force a private property owner to provide free housing, and to put them in jail if they don’t comply. The federal court clearly rejected that argument, explaining that “The government’s argument would thus allow a nationwide eviction moratorium long after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.”
“In example after example, the Biden Administration has thrown aside the Constitution, which should come as no surprise to the millions of Americans directly affected by the COVID-19 power grabs,” said SLF General Counsel Kimberly Hermann explains. “We trust the courts will reaffirm the Constitution during on appeal.”
She continued: “The federal courts have been clear – the federal government lacks the constitutional authority to impose any moratorium on evictions. It is just flat-out unconstitutional. It also makes clear that even during a pandemic, the Constitution persists. For it is in times of crisis when our constitutional protections are most needed – and tragically most vulnerable.”