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Federal judge says CDC 'does not' have authority to issue eviction moratorium order

Virus Outbreak Evictions
Posted at 1:59 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 14:01:51-04

A federal judge ruled Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its legal authority last year when it issued a nationwide eviction moratorium.

The 20-page order issued by U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich says that the protection goes too far, saying “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.”

"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.”

Landlords and property owners had challenged the CDC order since it was initially issued at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. The Biden administration had continued it until June 30.

The case ruled on by Judge Friedrich was brought by the Alabama and Georgia Association of Realtors, in addition to property management companies.

The plaintiffs argued the order was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated "the notice-and-comment requirement" of the Administrative Procedure Act.

There have been several legal challenges to the CDC’s order. Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Justice confirmed they will appeal Friedrich's ruling.

"The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a notice of appeal to the DC Circuit of this morning’s ruling vacating the CDC’s eviction moratorium. Also we seek a stay of the decision, pending appeal," the agency's director of public affairs tweeted.

It is unclear what will happen now to people being protected by the order.