DOJ appealing ruling that eviction moratorium is unconstitutional
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is appealing a judge’s ruling that an order from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) temporarily halting evictions during the coronavirus pandemic is unconstitutional, according to a notice filed Saturday night.
The Associated Press reports that prosecutors are appealing the decision by U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Baker to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Baker ruled last week that the CDC had gone beyond its authority by issuing the evictions moratorium.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution,” Barker wrote in his decision.
“The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium,” Barker, who was nominated by former President Trump, added. “It did not do so during the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic. Nor did it invoke such a power during the exigencies of the Great Depression. The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our Nation’s history until last year.”
The Trump administration issued sweeping eviction moratoriums in September of last year that made it illegal to evict someone who makes less than $99,000 or a joint-filing couple who expects to make less than $198,000. The Biden administration extended the moratorium in February through June.
“The CDC’s eviction moratorium, which Congress extended last December, protects many renters who cannot make their monthly payments due to job loss or health care expenses,” acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton said in a statement. “By preventing people from becoming homeless or having to move into more-crowded housing, the moratorium helps to slow the spread of COVID-19.”