A federal appeals court declined Friday to block the federal moratorium on evictions that was imposed as a way to keep renters housed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected an effort by a group of property owners to put the moratorium on hold. The opponents had earlier asked a federal judge to block the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium, but the judge denied the request.
“In view of that decision and on the record before us, we likewise deny the emergency motion directed to this court,” the appeals court ruling said.
The landlords who challenged the moratorium can now ask the Supreme Court to put it on hold, and they face better odds there. At least five of the justices have indicated their skepticism that the CDC has the proper authority.
The landlords, led by the Alabama Association of Realtors, challenged the CDC’s first moratorium as well as the latest one, issued Aug. 3. The Biden administration argued that the new version is substantially different.
The first moratorium applied to renters nationwide, while the revised version applies only in counties with a high rate of Covid transmission. Government lawyers conceded, however, that at least 80 percent of the nation’s counties are in that category.
Congress imposed a four-month moratorium on evictions in March 2020. When it expired, the CDC, under the Trump administration, issued a moratorium of its own, which expired at the end of July.
During the challenge to the first moratorium, the landlords asked the Supreme Court to put the suspension of evictions on hold. Four justices said they would have granted the request. Brett Kavanaugh said he would have, too, but decided not to because the moratorium at that point in late June had only a few weeks left. He said only Congress could impose such a nationwide moratorium.