(Aug. 23, 2021): Kimberly Hermann, Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) general counsel, explains in Real Clear Markets how “one night while we were sleeping, America lost its Constitution.” She is referring to the federal government’s power grab known as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) nationwide eviction moratorium that SLF is challenging in federal court.
A dispute over housing evictions, as unlikely and as mundane as that may sound, is at the epicenter of the crisis. But here we are. It began in March 2020 when Congress passed a moratorium on evictions that was restricted to federally subsidized housing. The intent was to limit evictions and homelessness to keep people indoors and thus slow the transmission of COVID-19.
Congress set the mandate to expire in July 2020. But on September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the banto the end of the year and expanded it to include almost all tenants earning less than $99,000 annually or couples making $198,000. And that’s when the trouble started. The CDC, an executive agency under the control of the White House, had acted independently of constitutional and congressional authority.
And why is this such a big deal? Because the CDC’s eviction moratorium has been declared unconstitutional.
The unconstitutionality of these actions were affirmed months before when Judge Campbell Barker in the Eastern District of Texas held the CDC’s ban was unconstitutional in Terkel v. CDC. In his opinion, Judge Barker explained that “the federal government’s Article I power to regulate interstate commerce and enact laws necessary and proper to that end does not include the power to impose the challenged eviction moratorium.” In other words, neither the CDC nor Congress has the authority to control state eviction proceedings.
Read more at Real Clear Markets.