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Federal judge rules CDC's national ban on COVID-19-related evictions illegal

By
Don Johnson
January 31, 2020
National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

May 5 (UPI) -- A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control exceeded its authority in ordering a nationwide moratorium on evictions to help renters remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the CDC has no legal authority to establish such a ban.

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"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?" Friedrich wrote, according to The Hill.

"It does not."

RELATED CDC extends national ban on evictions until July due to COVID-19

In March, the CDC extended its eviction ban to July 1, just two days before it was set to expire.

A coalition of property owners have challenged the moratorium in court and a number of other judges have previously ruled that the ban is illegal. Other judges, however, have limited their rulings to apply to only the parties involved in the lawsuit.

Friedrich said her ruling should apply nationwide, though Justice Department attorneys had asked that she keep the scope of her ruling narrow.

RELATED Federal judge says CDC didn't have power to order national eviction ban

Friedrich cited prior rulings, writing that "this position is at odds with settled precedent."

Luke Wake, an attorney who represented the group of landlords, said the ruling showed that they "have been right all along."

President Joe Biden's administration has eyed vouchers for those at risk of eviction and for cities to invest in housing, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge told reporters Wednesday.

RELATED Federal judge says national ban against COVID-19-related evictions illegal

"We have put enough money in the system through the [American Rescue Plan] that people should come out of this June 30," she said, according to Axios.

"So that in itself is going to allow us hopefully to keep people in their homes, as well as those people who actually have homes through FHA or through the federal government."

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