The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium Thursday night, saying that if lawmakers wanted to prevent Americans from being tossed from their homes in the midst of a pandemic congressional action would be required. The court broke along ideological lines, 6-3, with the three progressive judges writing dissents.
The Alabama Association of Realtors led the challenge to the moratorium, which was put in place earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control. The moratorium affected only areas with high COVID-19 infection rates.
The realtors association and a group of landlords said the moratorium was costing landlords around $19 billion each month. The Biden administration countered that it was preventing massive homelessness in the midst of a deadly pandemic and in a time of a surge of Delta variant cases. Additionally, relief for landlords has been provided by the federal government in the CARES Act.
The court sided with the landlords and federal Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump appointee, who ruled earlier this month that the moratorium was government overreach. Friedrich had stayed her decision because she, too, was concerned that lifting the moratorium could worsen the nation’s current COVID outbreak.
Thursday’s decision by the Supreme Court allows Friedrich’s ruling to go into effect immediately. It’s unclear if the Justice Department had plans to appeal Friedrich’s ruling.
“The Biden Administration is disappointed that the Supreme Court has blocked the most recent CDC eviction moratorium while confirmed cases of the Delta variant are significant across the country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “As a result of this ruling, families will face the painful impact of evictions, and communities across the country will face greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.”